Kingston: Describing Mohammed Shami as an ‘important cog in our wheel’, India head coach Anil Kumble has expressed that he is pleased with the paceman’s progress since his Test return in the ongoing series against the West Indies.
The 26-year-old, who marked his return to Test return with four wickets against West Indies in the opening match in Antigua following a lengthy injury layoff, continued his steady growth in the second match as well, bagging four wickets overall at Sabina Park.
Shami was impressive in his first spell of West Indies’ second innings, dismissing veteran batsman Marlon Samuels for a duck before sending Darren Bravo (20) back to the pavilion shortly with a bouncer delivery.
“I’m really happy for Shami because 18 months is a long time away from international cricket. The way he has come back and bowled aggressively, yesterday I thought he bowled the best spell that I have seen, a fast bowler running in and right through the Test. Even today in the last session he was running and bowling at 140 which says a lot about his fitness and his motivation to come back as well. It’s not easy for a fast bowler after an injury. I’m really pleased that he has come back. He’s an important cog in our wheel,” Kumble told reporters in a post-match press conference.
According to Kumble, Shami has regained his confidence and rhythm after recovering from his knee injury which kept him out of the international cricket since the 2015 World Cup.
“I think he feels a lot stronger now and his rhythm has been good. The problem was with his knee which was affecting his run up. Once that was sorted and he was fit and came back, fast bowling is all about rhythm and the run up. Once he got the rhythm I think the confidence came back. We’ve seen from the start of the Antigua Test to now, his confidence is far greater. That’s because he has a lot of overs under his belt,” he added.
Battling to avoid another ignominious innings defeat in the four-match series, a beleaguered West Indies produced a determined effort, batting for 88.1 overs with the loss of only two wickets, to force a spirited draw on the final day.
This gritty display was in stark contrast to the rain-truncated fourth day’s play where the hosts lost four wickets within 15.5 overs after India declared their first innings at 500-9.
Roston Chase, playing only his second Test match, remained unbeaten on 137 off 269 balls and in the process stitched three match-saving partnerships with Jermaine Blackwood (63), Shane Dowrich (74) and captain Holder.
India are still leading the four-match series 1-0 and will aim to take an unassailable 2-0 lead when they will play the third Test on August 9 at Gros Islet.