By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) – A fit-again Mohammed Shami is relieved to find he has not lost his sharpness and the India fast bowler prays he never suffers another setback like the knee injury which kept him out of action for eight months.
The 25-year-old played through pain the last time India toured Australia and finished as the team’s second-highest wicket-taker at the World Cup, taking 17 scalps.
He underwent surgery after returning from Australia in March and was sidelined till he returned to action in domestic cricket last month.
“Injuries are very irritating, for me and any other cricketer,” he told reporters on the eve of the Indian team’s departure for Australia for a limited-overs series.
“It’s very difficult to mentally come out of an injury. I just hope it never happens to me again in my life.”
The fast bowler was on crutches for a long time and was not allowed by the doctor to get out of the bed for two months.
The right-arm paceman completed his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore before being selected for limited-overs matches for his state side.
“I was not allowed to keep my feet on the ground. I was only allowed to get up from my bed and go to the bathroom,” Shami said with his voice choking with emotion.
“The second thing was I couldn’t play. I had not seen the dining room even for those two months.
“I started feeling good again when I started light running and my cricket. I felt like I was back to my world.”
The few matches he played before the Australia tour has given Shami back his confidence and the fast bowler felt he could hit the ground running in Australia.
“I had not played for a long time and the entire team was playing so I was missing it a lot,” Shami added. It was very important for me to get back my rhythm and get some matches.
“I wanted to start from where I had left before my injury. I was feeling comfortable as I was able to bowl with the same pace and hit the same line and length.”
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni pointed at Shami’s importance in the often-inconsistent Indian pace attack and said he will manage his workload with the World Twenty20 starting in March.
“He has worked really hard during his rehab. It will be interesting to see how he shapes up,” Dhoni said.
“I will try to manage him well because the World Cup is just round the corner.”
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)