Former Pakistan pacer and widely recognised as one of the quickest bowlers to have ever played the game Shoaib Akhtar has in a recent video backed Indian pacer Mohammed Shami to become the “king of reverse swing” in coming days.
Notably, Shami picked up a fifer on the final day of the first Test match between India and South Africa, on a wicket in which spinners were supposed to possess threat and do most of the damage. Consequently, India went on to win the Visakhapatnam Test by 203 runs.
Akhtar admitted that he had once advised Shami to try and become a tear away pace bowler while also inculcating the art of reverse swing in his game. He stated that this quality was a rare one among fast bowlers from the sub-continent.
“After India’s (50-over) World Cup disappointment, Shami called me up one day and said he was feeling sad that he could not do well for India. I told him not to lose heart but maintain fitness. I told him that the home series is coming and you will do well,” he said in a video uploaded on his Youtube channel.
“I told Shami that I want him to become a tear away pacer, running through batting line-ups. He has seam and swing, besides that he has a reverse swing which very few bowlers in the subcontinent have. I told him you can become king of reverse swing.
“Now, you see what he has done, he has got wickets from a docile pitch (in Visakhapatnam). I am very happy for him.
“Under Virat Kohli, Shami is going to thrive. I told Shami that Kohli is a potent captain who enjoys captaincy and gives full freedom to his bowlers,” he added.
Earlier, Shami had also gone on record praising Virat Kohli for showing faith in his bowlers and backing them to do well in all forms of the game.
“Virat Kohli as a captain always hears us out and gives us the freedom to follow our strategy during the match. He has given us the freedom to take a call on whether we want to bowl 5 overs or 7 overs or more — he says ‘if you have the power, go ahead and bowl’. That’s when we take a call that we will bowl three overs but with full power… That’s the understanding we have. He trusts us, and we trust him,” Shami had said after the first Test against the Proteas.
With 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series, India would try and clinch the series in Pune where the second test is scheduled to be played from Thursday.