New Zealand Vs India 2019: Mohammed Shami becomes the fastest Indian to 100 ODI Wickets
In the first ODI between India and New Zealand at Napier, Kiwi captain Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bat. After a decent first over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar on an apparently dead wicket, Mohammed Shami was introduced from the other end. The in-form opening batsman Martin Guptill got a leading edge on the first ball of the over.
After leaving a good ball that was well outside the off stump, he left one that just pegged back in to hit his knee roll while both his pads were adjacent to the stumps. The umpire did not give it out, and the Indian captain decided to go with the instincts of the umpire. The very next ball pitched slightly outside off stump, came back in just a fraction, caught the inside edge and skidded on to the stumps.
With this wicket, Mohammed Shami became the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 ODI wickets. Not only that, he became the joint fifth fastest in the world along with Brett Lee - both taking only 55 matches to reach the milestone. What is most startling is the fact that while Brett Lee reached the milestone within the first three years from his debut, Shami took six years to play the same number of matches.
Mohammed Shami, who made his one-day and international debut in an ODI against Pakistan in January 2013, managed to become a regular in the side by the end of the year. Along with raw pace and the ability to swing the ball both ways, Shami also possessed the ability to skid and reverse swing the old ball.
With a brilliant strike rate and average, Mohammed Shami became the then second-fastest Indian to 50 ODI wickets as well in just his 29th ODI against Afghanistan at Dhaka in an Asia Cup match. With the experience of bowling in different conditions in the next year or so, Shami was one of the highest wicket-takers in the 2015 World Cup with 17 wickets at an average of 17.29.
However, carrying a knee injury through the World Cup proved costly as he had to undergo surgery after the tournament. Absence from the team during the 2015-16 season led to the selection of newcomers such as Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Barinder Sran. Ashish Nehra was also called back to the T20 side after six years during the build-up to the World T20 in 2016. While Shami was in the squad, he did not get much match practice.
A regular in the Test side ever since, Shami was overlooked for limited-overs selection during the following season as well. With sporadic limited overs appearances, Shami impressed one and all with his Test exploits. Shami picked up almost 100 Test wickets in the next three seasons. With 46 wickets in 2018, he emerged as one of the pillars of a much-feared bowling trio - along with Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.
With 131 wickets between them, the trio took the most wickets by any pace trio in a calendar year. While Shami made a brief ODI comeback in India's last home series of 2018, he was sidelined for the last three ODI's. However, average performances from Umesh Yadav and better performances during the Test series in Australia led to a comeback for the ODI's in Australia and New Zealand.
With Bumrah rested, Shami emerged as India's second-best seamer during the ODI series victory in Australia. Mohammed Shami's comeback in the ODI side is certainly a welcome one with the team struggling with choices to pick a third and fourth seamer for the World Cup.
Shami beat Irfan Pathan (59 matches), Zaheer Khan (65) and Ajit Agarkar (67) in terms of the number of matches to become the fastest Indian to 100 ODI wickets. All the others achieved the milestone in their first three years and a much less gap between matches than that in Shami's case.
Shami is now a serious contender as a second or third seamer for the World Cup. After all, he has all the skills and experience to trouble the best batsmen in the world in a tournament as big as the World Cup.