Not long ago, Mohammed Shami was being looked upon as India’s latest pace sensation. He rocked on to the scene by claiming nine wickets against West Indies at home at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Shami claimed 4 for 71 in the first innings and 5 for 47 in the second to bowl India to a win in Sachin Tendulkar’s famous series. Shami displayed both pace and swing to trouble the West Indian batsman, and even brought out the yorkers to shatter many stumps during the course of the debut Test. While he is still only 8 Tests old, Shami is already beginning to look jaded.
After the great beginning at Kolkata, Shami could not repeat his heroics at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. He managed only one wicket each in the two innings even as India went on to win the Test by a massive margin of an innings and 126 runs. Shami’s first Test away from home was a Johannesburg, where his limitations were exposed. He managed to claim five wickets in the match, but not before conceding 155 runs. Shami claimed 2 for 48 in the first innings, but in the second when India had 458 to defend he finished with 3 for 107 in 28 overs.
In the Durban Test, Shami looked completely tired, and sent down 27 overs in which he conceded 104 runs while managing to claim only a solitary wicket. On a surface where the South African bowlers proved to be extremely dangerous, Shami did not look potent at all. The lack of wickets from him hurt India in a big way. India next headed to New Zealand, and in the first innings of the first Test at Auckland, he finished with disappointing figures of 1 for 95. He claimed 3 for 37 in the second innings, but the game was out of grasp by then.
One of Shami’s best efforts came in the first innings of the Wellington Test, as his 4 for 70 was crucial in India bowling out the hosts for 192. However, Shami could not back it up with a solid performance in the second innings. He bowled 43 overs and picked up 2 wickets while conceding 149 runs as Brendon McCullum smashed a triple hundred. Shami shone with the bat at Trent Bridge, but his bowling effort of 2 for 128 was below par. And, from what has been on show at Lord’s thus far, he has looked fatigued. Wonder whether the slide for Shami has already begun. Time will tell.
--By A Cricket Analyst