Mohammed Shami has stated that the wicket was damp when India batted in the first innings of the warm-up game against New Zealand XI but added that it was a strategic decision. He also further added that people shouldn’t judge a cricketer on the basis of two or three bad performances.
It was “problems for plenty” for India ahead of the Hamilton warm-up game against the Daryl Mitchell-led New Zealand XI but soon that was replaced by plenty of problems, with all three openers failing to make it count in the first innings. While Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill were dismissed for a duck, Mayank Agarwal managed to score 1, letting Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari carry on the rescue act.
The bowlers, however, salvaged some pride with the pace quartet of Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Navdeep Saini picking nine wickets between them. When asked about the difference in the nature of wickets in the two innings, Shami revealed that the Day 1 wicket was a bit more difficult to bat, but revealed that it was a strategic decision on India’s part to do so.
“The wicket looked green and a bit damp as well. But we wanted to be challenged and that was the prime motive behind choosing to bat first. The wicket was kind of better for batting today, with sun out and there was consistent bounce and carry. Generally, we don’t get such wickets in New Zealand, so it is a good thing that we took wickets on this wicket too,” Shami said in the press conference at the end of the second day in Hamilton.
While the Indian pacers called the shots in the home series – an aversion from the norm – they are set for another round of dominance as they resume their quest to retain top spot on the ICC Test Championship table. Shami believes that Kiwi conditions helped his kind of bowling while not shying away from admitting that helpful conditions adds confidence to any pace bowler.
“The wicket was better for fast bowling. When we play in overseas conditions, the confidence of fast bowlers also remains at a high because of the bounce and carry that we don’t generally get in sub-continent wickets. It is a comfort zone for bowlers and that is something which excites a fast bowler. Every bowler wants such conditions and wants to make full use of that,” he added.
After returning from a lower-back stress fracture, Jasprit Bumrah suffered a bad run of form, picking a solitary wicket in the six ODIs he played post his comeback. While his bowling in T20Is was marginally better, it was far from the standards he had set for himself. On the face of criticism, Shami ran to Bumrah’s defense, stating that Bumrah’s career talks about his quality and people should stop slamming him.
“Everyone wants to talk from outside. That is a job now. But as a sportsman, we understand that injuries are a part and parcel of the game. I suffered a major injury in 2015 and bounced back from it. We can’t judge someone on the basis of his performance in two-three games. What Bumrah has done for India, we can’t ignore. With confidence, he will grow further in his career,” the pacer added.