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Mohammed Shami makes his way to the top

Mohammed Shami cricket

Cricket   |   December 19, 2019

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Until last year, Mohammed Shami was nowhere near with a chance of making it to India’s limited-overs squad. Regular injuries had marred his career over the last few years. But we saw the return of a fitter, stronger and faster version of Shami towards the start of 2019.

He impressed everyone with his exploits in the home series against Australia first and then in the away series against New Zealand, thereby booking a berth for himself in India’s World Cup squad. Shami was on fire during the showpiece event as well. He picked up a hat-trick in their Group match against Afghanistan and amassed a total of 14 wickets in just four matches during the tournament at a superb average of 13.78 and a strike-rate of 15.0.

He has carried that form with him ever since and has now become the highest wicket-taker in ODIs in 2019. Shami registered a superb spell of 7.3-0-39-3 in India’s 107-run victory over West Indies in the second ODI of the ongoing two-match series at Visakhapatnam and thus, became the top ODI wicket-taker this year.

Shami reached the milestone with the wicket of Nicholas Pooran in the 30th over of West Indies’ innings. He dismissed Kieron Pollard caught behind off the very next delivery and was on a hat-trick for the second time this year. However, Jason Holder denied him the chance as he played out the hat-trick ball successfully. But he came back later to claim the wicket of Keemo Paul and finish things off for India.

The 29-year-old now has 41 wickets to his name in 20 ODIs this year at a superb average and strike-rate of 21.58 and 24.4 respectively. Moreover, both his bowling average and strike-rate are the best among bowlers who have taken at least 30 ODI wickets this year. So that sums up how well he has performed of late.

Moreover, he has an excellent ODI record against West Indies as well. Shami has 36 wickets in 17 ODIs against them at an outstanding average and strike-rate of 21.33 and 23.2 respectively. So, if these numbers are anything to go by, it is safe to say that he is going to take a significant lead at the top of the wicket-taking charts in the next match at Cuttack on Sunday.

Written by: Prasenjit Dey