Mohammed Shami defended 5 runs in the first Super Over against Mumbai Indians.  |  Photo Credit: PTI
- Mohammed Shami is in brilliant form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020
- With 20 wickets in 12 matches, Shami is just behind Kagiso Rabada (23) in the list of highest wicket takers
- Shami bowled a memorable Super Over against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020 where he defended 5 runs
In the ongoing Indian Premier League (KXIP), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have produced a commendable fightback with five wins in a row. The fortunes have changed for KL Rahul’s men – who were languishing at the bottom of the points table a few weeks back. While Punjab have found new heroes every now and then, one bowler who has been a consistent performer for them this season is Mohammed Shami. The senior Indian speedster has bowled his heart out in most of the matches.
While batsmen look to see through Shami’s first two overs in the powerplay, with no other option left but to attack him in death overs, they find the pacer’s deliveries tough to crack as he continues to bowl several economical overs in the second half of the innings. Shami bowled one of the most memorable overs in IPL history as he successfully defended 5 runs against defending champions Mumbai Indians in what was the first double Super Over-finish.
In an exclusive chat with timesnownews.com, Shami spoke about his memories from the memorable match, the secret behind him executing yorkers to perfection even under the most pressure situations and more.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Kings XI Punjab had a slow start to IPL 2020 but have now won several matches in a row. What is the mood in the dressing room now, and how confident is the team of winning its first-ever IPL title?
Mohammed Shami: The mood in the dressing room is great. Everyone is happy and smiling, and the trust factor has also increased. But with regards to winning the IPL, we lost our first few games by small margins, something we were not expecting in T20 cricket. The current situation is very good and everybody is positive. Team’s approach and aggression are in the right direction now. The planning and execution are perfect, and now, we are aiming at executing our plans in remaining matches.
Q: It is said time and again, that bowlers should bowl yorkers in the death overs. But due to pressure, they end up bowling low full tosses. But your case is different, as we saw in that Super Over against Mumbai Indians. Even in international cricket, you are known for your accurate yorkers. What is your secret of hitting perfect yorkers in spite of the pressure?
Mohammed Shami: I have been playing for India for a long time now and the pressure at the international level is huge. If I can bowl perfect yorkers in that situation, then IPL is just a short format of the game. I’m always prepared, confident, I always back my ability and skill, always have a positive mindset. In the death overs, I look at all my options and decided which would be the best option. So if you back your ability, the chance of a successful execution is higher. We get hit by the batsman when we try to bowl too defensive, in the fear of getting hit for a boundary or a six. In my run-up, I am prepared to be hit for a six but I always back my yorkers. I always prepare myself for the worst-case scenario in my head. This helps to release all the fear that is there inside you, and the execution is better.
Q: Talking about the Super Over against Mumbai Indians where you had just 5 runs to defend. How confident were you of defending it, and where would you put that match in the list of best matches of the IPL?
Mohammed Shami: It is extremely difficult to defend 5 runs in T20 cricket; one bad ball and you will be hit for a six. And Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma were in brilliant form, so it was very difficult, but I knew I had to back my own strengths. Rahul asked me what I intended to do; I told him I will bowl six yorkers. My confidence increased as I bowled one good yorker after another. And yes, this will go down as one of my best games, as my over indirectly played a role in my team winning the match in the second Super Over. And the match saw two Super Overs – this is a memory for a lifetime.
Q: KL Rahul has led the team brilliantly so far. As a bowler and a squad member, what is the thing you like most about Rahul’s captaincy?
Mohammed Shami: Rahul and I have played international cricket for a long time now, and we understand each other really well. We respect each other a lot. When it is about batting, I listen to him, and vice versa when it comes to bowling. It is very important for a bowler in a format like T20 cricket to have the support and trust of your captain. That helps in increasing the confidence of the bowler.
Q: Months before the IPL started, we saw video of you training at your farmhouse. Do you think that the early preparation has helped in you getting better results than other bowlers this year?
Mohammed Shami: The impact will always be there, considering when everyone was in their homes, I was preparing myself in the farmhouse during the lockdown. I thank God for helping me avail such facilities for myself. I have my own setup there. I didn’t face any problem there but during the 6-day quarantine in UAE, I realised how difficult it would have been for others to stay at home for 4 months. The benefits of running and training, and honing my skills there definitely has helped me in UAE.
Q: Initially, the batsmen were dominating in UAE, but with the pitches getting slower in UAE, bowlers are dominating now. What is your take on the UAE wicket, especially in the second half of this IPL?
Mohammed Shami: According to me, when we started, we were bowling back of a length, but now we are bowling more of a fuller length. In the second half, the pitch is going to be a lot slower with a lot of turn I reckon. There is a lot of difference in the pitch we started with, and the pitch we have now.
Q: Kagiso Rabada has the Purple Cap with 23 wickets, you are second with 20 wickets. What do you think of your prospects of winning the Purple Cap?
Mohammed Shami: I never think that way, to be honest. When you are bowling well, the target should be to take wickets, not to win a cap and trophy. The focus should be to perform and take the most wickets, and if someone is performing better, one should focus on improving his own skill rather than focusing on the other person.