Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Veteran pacer Mohammed Shami was the wrecker-in-chief for India in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 game against New Zealand in Dharamshala, as he picked up five wickets for 54 runs.

With his brilliant performance, Shami became the only Indian bowler to have picked up two 5-wicket hauls in the history of cricket World Cups.

However, Shami was included in the Indian team after warming the bench for four consecutive games. Following India’s four-wicket victory, Shami said one has to get his confidence up early after sitting out of the playing eleven for a while and his match-winning performance did his belief the world of good. However, he added that it was not too hard for him to wait on the sidelines for an opportunity to get into the playing eleven as the team fared phenomenally well with the combination it went with in the previous four matches.

“When you come back after a long time to the XI, it is important to get confidence early. My first game in the ongoing World Cup helped me regain that confidence. It’s not too hard waiting on the sidelines if your team is doing well. They are your teammates and if they are doing well then you should be supporting them. If it’s in the team’s interest, I am okay with it. The wickets were important as it came against an opponent, which was sitting top of the points table going into this clash,” said Shami after the match.

Meanwhile, fans over various social media platforms cheered Shami for his top-class performance, with some of the prominent voices also questioning why he was kept out of the playing XI so far.

“Why Mohd Shami was kept out for under performer Shradul Thakur? Shami is a legend and he proved it again,” wrote a fan on X (earlier known as Twitter).

“Couldn’t get an opportunity in the first 4 games, sits out happily, serves drinks, today got an opportunity and delivered with a fifer. This is just exceptional - what a guy!” tweeted another fan.

“Mohammed shami is like Ferrari. Whenever you take it out of garage it will give u same speed thrill and joy to ride every time,” commented former India pacer Irfan Pathan.

“Shami 5/54! So good to be vindicated by a player you’ve been supporting! He should be picked every time we need three pacers. And who says he can’t bat? He wields the willow with a pretty effective long handle!” wrote Shashi Tharoor.