Is Mohammed Shami under pressure to perform in Australia?
India are touring Australia for a complete series across formats. India are the defending champions of ODIs and Tests, while the T20Is ended in a draw, during their last tour in 2018-19. The Indians are coming off a gruelling performance in the just-concluded Indian Premier League.
India are all set for their first international assignment in the COVID-19 pandemic era, as they travel to Australia for complete series, across formats. Meanwhile, critics and experts have deemed the series suitable ideally for the bowlers, as numerous Indian pacers, including Mohammed Shami, are being backed to fire.
Meanwhile, Shami is coming off a thunderous performance in the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Playing for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Shami finished as their highest wicket-taker, claiming 20 wickets in 14 matches, at an economy of 8.57.
Speaking on if he is under pressure to perform in Australia, Shami clarified that he is blooming in confidence following his superb outing in the IPL. "My performances for KXIP in IPL has given me a lot of confidence and put me in the right zone," he told BCCI.tv.
"The biggest advantage is that I can now prepare for the upcoming series without any pressure. There is no burden on me. I am very comfortable at the moment. I had worked hard on my bowling and my fitness in the lockdown. I knew that IPL would take place, sooner or later, and I was preparing myself for it," added Shami.
Although Shami would be a part of Team India across formats Down Under, he has made it clear that his focus is on the longest format, as he is working hard to train for the four Tests. "We are going to have a long tour starting with the white ball followed by pink and red ball Tests. My focus area has been the red ball and I am working on my lengths and seam movement," he said.
"I have always felt that once you start pitching the ball at the lengths you desire, you can succeed in different formats. What you need is control. I have done well with the white-ball and now spending time in the nets bowling with the red ball. You don't bowl in the same area since both formats are different, but your basics don't change much," asserted Shami.
India would be wary of Steve Smith and David Warner being back to the Australian side, who missed it during their last tour in 2018-19. Nonetheless, Shami feels that it is not something they are concerned about and backed the Indian batsmen to fair well, along with the bowlers.
"India have quality batsmen and we bowl at them in the nets. We don't look at names, we focus on our skills. You can be a world-class batsman, but one good ball will still get you out. Our fast-bowling group can bowl at 140 kph plus and you need that kind of pace in Australia. Even our reserves are quick, you don't get to see that kind of an attack," Shami declared.
"There is a healthy competition, but there is no rivalry within the group. If you look at the numbers, we have managed to pick 20 wickets almost on all our away tours," concluded Shami.