Shami explains why he will have advantage over other Indian players when BCCI starts a camp

Indian cricketers are yet to hit the ground running with a proper camp in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mohammad Shami | AFPWhile the international cricket resumed a couple of days back with the England-West Indies Test series, Team India are yet to hit the ground running with a proper camp in wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It has been more than four months since India’s last international assignment and there is no clarity on their next fixture yet.

Amid the crisis, speedster Mohammad Shami on Thursday (July 9) said he enjoys an "advantage" over other Indian players living in metros as he has been doing training inside his sprawling ancestral home in Sahaspur, which comprises a mini-cricket ground with full facility for net practice.

WATCH - Mohammad Shami returns to bowling practice at his farmhouse

However, the one thing that Shami fears is this prolonged break can have ruinous implications on rhythm.

"There are two ways to look at it. The Indian team always has a packed schedule and it was a good break which allowed a tired body to heal. While on one side, you gain physically, become fitter and stronger with a lot of training but not playing the sport means that at the same time the rhythm is not there. Obviously, it's something where you will find the difference. So there are pros and cons and its about managing your body," Shami quoted as saying by PTI.

"Obviously I will have an advantage as I have been training quite regularly. This is different from an injury-induced break. I have been in good rhythm, and luckily, I don't feel any stiffness while bowling full tilt. This is a phase when you always know that you are there and it's a matter of time to get that rhythm back. It bolsters your confidence," he added.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has banned the traditional practice of using saliva to maintain the shine of the ball to avoid potential on-field COVID-19 spread.

While he has started bowling full tilt at the nets with his brother facing him, Shami said he still can't gauge how an old red ball will behave without the application of saliva.

"If you don't get proper conditions, you can't try bowling with old ball. I will tell you why. In the nets, the old ball that you use is the one that's kept in a box for a few days, it will behave differently from a ball that's getting old after continuous use in a match situation. Because a ball that gets old in a match situation is maintained throughout the course of the innings," the fast bowler with 180 wickets from 49 Tests stated.

“It has got a lot to do with the condition of the leather. The old ball that you suddenly bring out for practice will have a softer feel of the leather and that creates a difference. So, if you are looking at answers, you will only get it in a match simulation,” he explained.

"So my next target during training is to start with a new ball and try to maintain it without saliva and then figure out how it behaves when it gets old. I will have to bowl with it and after may be 20 overs when the batsman has faced it, then you get an idea how the ball behaves," he continued.

While practicing, Shami is striving hard to restrain his natural instinct of applying saliva on the ball.

"Yes, its a conditioned reflex, so obviously I am forgetting at times but luckily stopping before I apply it on the ball. So it's a good thing that whenever I am training, I become very conscious and say, 'no, I can't use saliva'. The discipline is slowly coming," he said.

But he does admit that he has no answer to whether the ball will be reversing or not without saliva.

"People are asking me this question, but honestly, I have no answer. Because, it's a habit and a theory we have all believed and practised since our starting years. So, once we start trying, we will know better."

Before the COVID-19 outbreak rocked cricket, workload management was an important aspect for the Indian fast bowler. But after a lengthy hiatus, Shami believes no player would be thinking about anything other than the game time.

"I prefer game time but, at the same time, one should have the knowledge as to how one's body is reacting to various types of workload.

"Our team's workload management has been great. I believe after such a long break, I don't think that we need to think about workload and stuff. Because, right now, all I want is to be in a camp, think about my practice and start preparing for matches," he said.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 10 Jul, 2020

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