‘When you play for the country, you forget everything’

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Shami stands out as the top bowler in the tournament, securing 24 wickets in eight games, including three remarkable five-wicket hauls. His journey since 2015 is likened to a captivating movie script…reports Asian Lite News

Mohammed Shami, the leading wicket-taker of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 with 24 wickets yet again set the tone in the final against Australia with a fiery start, claiming David Warner on his very first ball. But despite this promising beginning, India couldn’t seize the moment as they got beaten by Australia in the final.

Team India’s dream run came to an end with a billion heartbreaks as Australia clinched their sixth title by securing a six-wicket victory in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Emerging as the most impressive bowler in the tournament with 24 wickets from eight games, including three impressive fifers, Shami’s journey since 2015 has been nothing short of a movie script.

Shami opened up about various facets of his difficult yet impressive cricketing journey, right from scoring a century as an opener in his first leather ball match, earning money through cricket for the first time at around 16 years of age, overcoming personal challenges bravely, creating an old-school training set-up at a farmhouse, to maiden India call-up and many more.

“Nobody knew the pain I was dealing with (during the 2015 edition),” Shami said in an interview.

“I had swelling in my knee before the 2015 tournament. Someone else could have said no but I have the ability to bear pain and I was told two options—either directly go for surgery or play the tournament and then go for the surgery. While the team would return to the hotel after every match, I would go to the hospital to take the injection. When you play for the country, you forget everything,“ shared Shami.

Shami in an interview with Puma also talked about the comeback and journey that has been a dream run for him after he underwent a knee operation.

“I was unconscious for two hours. When I woke up, I asked the doctor when I could start playing. He replied, ‘It will be a big achievement if you walk without a limp, forget playing. It all depends on how you go about your rehab,” Shami said.

Shami has not looked back since.

His comeback journey has been visibly inspirational. He not only surpassed the likes of bowling greats to become the highest wicket-taker for the country surpassing Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath in the world’s biggest cricket tournament with 55 wickets from 18 matches, but also created history earlier in the semi-finals when he registered India’s best ODI bowling figures of 7-57.

“Generally, bowlers check the pitch after arriving at the ground. I never go close to the wicket because you will know how it behaves only when you bowl on it. Then why take the pressure? It’s best to keep it simple, keep yourself relaxed and only then you will perform better,” said Shami, as he also revealed that he doesn’t follow any pre-match ritual.

Kohli Third, Gill Holds Ground in Rankings

Following an impressive display at the ODI World Cup, India batter Virat Kohli gained ground in the latest update to the ODI Player Rankings, moving up one spot to third. Meanwhile, his teammate Shubman Gill maintained his position at the top.

Kohli scored a tournament-best 765 runs during the recent ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and that helped the right-hander jumped to third and within just 35 rating points of Gill, who remained on top of the batting chart.

Gill maintains a grip on the top spot with 826 rating points, narrowly ahead of Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, who holds onto second place with 824 points. However, Kohli (791 points) and India’s skipper, Rohit Sharma (now in fourth place with 769 points, climbing one spot), are closing in after impressive displays in the World Cup.

Kohli reached triple figures on three occasions at the World Cup to break the record of former teammate Sachin Tendulkar for most ODI centuries, while Rohit smashed 597 runs as the India duo finished the tournament as the two leading run scorers.

Kohli famously held the No.1 ranking for a total of 1258 consecutive days during a reign of almost four years between 2017 and 2021, with Babar spending the majority of time in the premier position in recent years until Gill claimed top billing during the World Cup.

The rise of the India duo means South Africa opener Quinton de Kock drops two spots to fifth on the ODI batter rankings, with New Zealand right-hander Daryl Mitchell rising five spots to sixth on the back of his 552 runs at the World Cup.

The most notable mover is Australian opener Travis Head, who surged an impressive 28 places to reach 15th overall following his outstanding century and Player of the Match display in the World Cup final.

In the bowling chart, South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj remains on top, with India pair Mohammed Siraj (third) and Jasprit Bumrah (fourth) remain firmly nestled within the top 10 for ODI bowlers, while teammate Kuldeep Yadav drops one spot to equal sixth

A host of Australia players making some good ground after their successful World Cup campaign.

Experienced seamer Josh Hazlewood rises four places to second overall, fellow quick Mitchell Starc jumps eight spots to 12th, while skipper Pat Cummins improves seven rungs to 27th.

There isn’t much change inside the top 10 of the ODI rankings for all-rounders at the completion of the World Cup, with Bangladesh veteran Shakib Al Hasan maintaining a healthy lead at the head of proceedings. New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner drops two spots to seventh and Bangladesh’s Mehidy Hasan Miraz rises two places to ninth.

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