Hamilton: India pacer Mohammed Shami was the star of the show on the second day of the warm-up game between India and New Zealand XI at Seddon Park on Saturday. He picked three wickets to ensure that the hosts fell short of India's score of 263 by 28 runs. Speaking to reporters at the end of the day's play, Shami said that the conditions helped.
"It was a bit green and the wicket was damp on the first day compared to the second day. Yesterday (First Day) morning, it was challenging and we wanted to take up that challenge. Today it was drier compared to yesterday, with cloud cover, the conditions became helpful.
"There was good bounce and carry, so felt good bowling on a track. These kind of tracks are a rarity and since we have pacers of that calibre, we reaped its benefits," he said.
An important aspect of his game in recent times has been his seam position and the pacer says it is the effect of the hard work he has put in during training.
"When you start working on something, you develop a passion that you have to achieve. I never thought that I will start developing a great seam position but when I realised that a good seam position can help, I just worked on it.
"By God's grace, now I can do whatever I want with the seam. If you want to achieve something, passion is pre-requisite. You have to chase that," he pointed.
He was also quick to defend teammate Jasprit Bumrah who has been under the scanner post his return from a stress fracture.
"How can people forget Jasprit Bumrah's numerous match-winning performances just after a couple of indifferent ODI games? I can understand we are discussing on a topic (after a certain length of time) not just after 2-4 games. Just because he hasn't performed in two games, you can't just ignore his ability to win matches," he explained.
"What Bumrah has achieved for India, how can you even forget that or for that matter ignore it? So if you think positively, then it's good for the player and his confidence also."
Shami also pointed at how people seem to change their perception quickly when the going gets tough for a player. "People tend to think very differently and when you do not do well for a few games, their viewpoint about your changes. So on our part, we shouldn't over-think," he said.
From defending Bumrah to praising newcomer Navdeep Saini, Shami said that the youngster has it in him to rise to great heights.
"He is young, he has got talent, pace and height. So there are benefits. But yes, someone has to guide him and take him along the way. He needs support. He is bowling well but no one possesses experience straightaway. It comes with passage of time. Hopefully, it will come soon and we seniors are there to help him," he said.
Asked if experience is the most important factor at the international level, Shami said: "Experience matters as you then don't panic easily. You have faced different situations and know what to do. That is valuable. So when an experienced player is around and you bring a youngster, he matures quickly. So in our team, we guide our youngsters, joke and laugh with them, make them feel comfortable so that they don't feel that there is a distance between seniors and juniors."