Why Mohammad Shami is the weak link in the Indian Test bowling line-up
Mohammed Shami may have played all the five Tests against England but he is indeed the weak link in the fast bowling department. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar about to return to full fitness, here's an analysis why Mohammed Shami is the man he should be replacing.
A fast bowler running in hard as he approaches the bowling crease is one of the most pleasing sights in world Cricket. Michael Holding was nicknamed 'Whispering Death' because even the umpires weren't aware that the great man had started his run up and almost reached the wickets.
Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Glenn McGrath had some of the most graceful approaches to the crease. Brett Lee. Shoaib Akhtar and Zaheer Khan were full of energy as they ran up to wreak havoc.
On the other end of the spectrum, we had Mohammad Asif, whose run-up was so laboured, I, at times, thought that he'd never make it to the bowling crease.
Sandwiched in between is Mohammad Shami. When he first burst onto the scene, he had an elegant approach to the crease to go along with the ability to reverse swing the ball with deadly efficiency as the touring West Indies found out in 2013.
Since then, his run-up seems strained and he has lost quite a bit of pace. He has also put on weight which is never a good sign for an athlete, let alone a fast bowler.
While he retains the ability to make the ball talk off the surface, the only reason I can think of for the aforementioned anomalies is that he is not fully fit.
It's often said that fast bowlers are crazy creatures. One has to be a maverick to become one. The great Wasim Akram says that a fast bowler's fitness can only be judged with regards to his on-field displays. It is also pertinent to note that Akram thinks that Shami needs to sort his run-up out. Shami, at present, doesn't seem to have peak fitness.