Mohammed Shami has reckoned that the current Indian pace attack isn’t just best in the world its cricket history but also one of the all-time great bowling groups anywhere.
The Indian fast bowling unit has been at the peak of its powers in the past three years. The trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah and able backups in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, have wreaked havoc on the opposition batters around the world courtesy their skills, versatility, accuracy and sustained aggression.
And, they have done it in all conditions.
“You and everyone else in the world will agree to this – that no team has ever had five fast bowlers together as a package. Not just now; in the history of cricket, this might be the best fast-bowling unit in the world.” Mohammed Shami told Deep Dasgupta on ESPNCricfo latest show ‘Cricbaazi’
With so many new ball bowling options, Shami admitted that it comes very difficult to choose as to who bowls the first over, especially when he, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah are playing together.
“We surround Virat Kohli and ask him to make the decision. But he normally says, ‘don’t get me involved in all this; you decide among yourselves, I don’t have an issue.’ That is the kind of fun we have in our team meetings. I let the other two start. I have no objection to bowling with a semi-new ball.” he added.
“Once the set batsman is dismissed, I go for the kill as a bowler”- Mohammed Shami
Since the start of January 2017, Indian pacers have claimed a total of 371 wickets in 201 innings and their average of 22.75 is the best in the world while strike-rate  is only second to South Africa [44.8].
Shami’s peak had coincided with India’s pace-bowling resurgence. Since returning from injury in late 2017, the right-handed seamer has bowled a plethora of match-winning spells. His five-wicket haul in the fourth innings of the Jo’Burg Test was instrumental in India winning the match.
The Bengal pacer claimed 16 wickets during India’s historic Test series win in Australia have thus far taken 36 wickets at 18.63 in the 2010-21 ICC Test Championship. Shami has a penchant for taking wickets in bursts, something he attributes to how he approaches his bowling in different situations.
“If the batsman is set and we haven’t been able to pick up a lot of wickets, we try to bowl a tight line and length by dropping our pace. As soon as we get a wicket, you increase your pace by about 8kph. This difference in speed is pretty visible. If the bowler was bowling at around 140kph earlier, after picking up a wicket he gets his rhythm back, picks up the pace and the same ball is now delivered at 145kph,” Mohammed Shami explained.
“My mindset while bowling is that if the batsman is playing well, bowl a tight line and length, dry up the runs, and he will surely make a mistake. Once the set batsman is dismissed, I go for the kill as a bowler. That’s why it seems like I bowl in two different ways. The ‘second-innings Shami’ label – that has been created by you guys (the media).” he added.
Mohammed Shami is also the leading Test wicket-taker among all pacers for India since 2017. In 27 Test, the right-hander has claimed 104 wickets at an average of 23.52.