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News

'No rocket science, just rhythm' - Shami after becoming India's top World Cup wicket-taker

Fast bowler becomes India's highest wicket-taker in World Cups, over-taking Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan

Mohammed Shami cleaned up Angelo Matthews to pick up his fourth wicket  •  Associated Press

Mohammed Shami cleaned up Angelo Matthews to pick up his fourth wicket  •  Associated Press

It's about finding rhythm, hitting right areas, keeping an uncluttered mind, and feeding off the love of the people, Mohammed Shami said after bagging the Player-of-the-Match award for his 5 for 18 in a thumping 302-run win over Sri Lanka in Mumbai, which made India the first team to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.
"All the hard work we are putting in, the rhythm we have found, it's because of that that you are getting to see this storm (on the cricket field), the incredible things our bowling unit is doing," Shami said at the post-match presentation. "The rhythm we are bowling with, I can't believe anyone will not enjoy it. So, yes, we are enjoying ourselves a lot and working together as a unit, and you are able to see the results of that."
Loud cheers rang out around the Wankhede Stadium when it was announced that Shami had, with his final wicket, become the highest wicket-taker for India in World Cups, going past the mark of 44 achieved by Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath.
"Yeah, I am trying (to do my best), as always, trying to pitch the ball in the right areas and trying to find the right rhythm, because in big tournaments, if you lose rhythm it's very difficult to get it back," Shami said. "So right from the start, the attempt has been to focus on the right areas and right lengths, and it's working, so why not try to repeat it?"
Since Shami came into the side at the World Cup, his returns have been 5 for 54 (vs New Zealand), 4 for 22 (vs England), and now 5 for 18 (vs Sri Lanka).
"It's tough," Shami said when asked about the achievement, "but I will say it again: your rhythm has to be right and the areas you hit must be right. Especially with the white ball, if you hit the right areas, you get movement off the pitch. So that's what matters the most."
Shami, who came on to bowl after Mohammed Siraj (3-16) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-8) had picked up the first four Sri Lanka wickets for just 14 runs, got one of his wickets bowled, two caught behind by KL Rahul, one caught in the slips, and one caught at point. No lbws. In fact, none of his 45 World Cup wickets have been lbws.
He didn't quite know how to explain this. "No rocket science. Just a matter of rhythm, good food, keep your mind uncluttered, and, most importantly, the love of the people. The support we get in India has a huge role. When you go out of India, you get so much support from Indians. So I will keep trying to make everyone happy."

Shubman Gill: 'Our bowlers have been phenomenal'

Shubman Gill, who top-scored in India's innings with a run-a-ball 92, credited the bowling unit for making the job of the batters easier.
"Our bowlers have been doing a phenomenal job. They have always restricted the opposition to below-par scores, which has made our job as batsmen easy," he said on the official broadcast after the match.
Gill took a sharp catch in the slips towards the end of the Sri Lanka innings, off Kasun Rajitha, which completed Shami's five-for. It was a good vantage point to watch the fast bowlers in action.
"The way they were bowling, there weren't many conversations we were having [in the slip cordon], you know," Gill said. "We were anticipating wickets almost on every ball. But in the last match as well… the way our fast bowlers have bowled throughout the World Cup has been sensation to watch. Especially from the slips."