Pace bowler Mohammed Shami, who picked 7/57 on Wednesday against New Zealand to help India cricket team enter the final of the ICC World Cup with a 70-run win at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, received doff of the hat from opposition skipper Kane Williamson after the match.
The right-arm pace bowler is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, even after coming into contention midway through the league phase as replacement for Hardik Pandya. He has picked 23 wickets in six matches, including three five-wicket hauls. He also became the first Indian bowler and the seventh overall to pick 50 wickets in ODI World Cup.
“He is without a doubt one of the top operators in the world, and the way he moves the ball and he keeps bringing the stumps into play. It has been quite phenomenal really, the amount of wickets he has gotten in such a small amount of games in this tournament,” said Williamson to the media after the game.
“He has only played probably half the games and he might be close to top wicket-taker and coming on first change, behind two outstanding new ball bowlers,” added Williamson.
Shami has received rave reviews from experts, including Wasim Akram, an icon of pace bowling, for his ability to maintain an upright seam all throughout the spell.
On Wednesday, when Jasprit Bumrah was initially off-colour, spraying the ball wide, it was Shami’s movement off the seam that got India the two initial breakthroughs after both the openers had got New Zealand a decent start.
Teammate Shubman Gill, who opens the batting with Rohit Sharma and scored 80 not out on Wednesday, also acknowledged Shami’s ability.
“It is very difficult [to face him]. In the nets, it’s like, if the wicket is good, it is difficult,” said Gill before adding that they have been challenged by the trio Bumrah, Shami and Mohammed Siraj which has held them in good stead.
Williamson also said that India will be going in with a lot of confidence after the win in semi-final over New Zealand.
“The Indian team in all departments are firing without a doubt. They are the best team in the world and they’re all playing their best cricket, so that’s tough,” said Williamson.
“The way they have played throughout this tournament has been incredible. They haven’t missed a beat really and to come into a semi-final, you go through your round-robin and try and get to the stage where it starts again. But the way they came out and played, yeah, shows the mindset that they have and the space that they are in and I have got no doubt they’ll go into that next match full of confidence,” added Williamson.