Kolkata: Indian opener Rohit Sharma said there will be a lot of expectations from pacer Mohammed Shami, who is trying to work his way back into the national team after a long lay-off due to injury. On Thursday, Shami donned the Indian colours after almost a year and bowled well against the West Indies in a World Twenty20 warm-up game here at the Eden Gardens. He returned figures of 2/30.
The 26-year-old had his knee operated on last year after the 50-over World Cup in Australia, and has struggled to make it to the team due to lack of proper recovery. He was also part of the Asia Cup squad, but had to pull out at the last minute. Though he lacked pace, Shami stuck to a great length and line.
“It’s never easy for a fast bowler to come back from a knee injury. He’s worked really hard. It was his first game after the injury and he did pretty well. He has been working really hard all this while. He executed the plans really well. He bowled bouncers, yorkers, slower ones. That’s what we expect from him. He was one of the main bowlers till the last time he played for India, so there will be expectations on him,” Rohit told reporters here after a blistering unconquered knock of 98.
“He was working real hard at the nets yesterday, trying to get his rhythm back. He just wanted to go out in the park and play. It’s about to have a feel the conditions and the atmosphere. Once he got in the groove, he bowled well with the new ball and did well with the old one.”
Rohit also stated that India have been doing well in the last few series because they have ticked the right boxes. India have won 10 out of their last 11 Twenty20 matches, winning two series in a row — against Australia and Sri Lanka — before lifting the Asia Cup.
“We have done well in our last three tournaments and we are not winning just because of one department. We are winning because of our bowling, batting and fielding has been superb,” Rohit said after India’s 45-run triumph.
The prolific willower said that they were not taking the warm up games lightly and that it was great to have a feel of the home conditions before the main round of the World T20. “It (the win) shows we’re not taking practice matches lightly. We treat them as good as a league game. The feel of the World Cup, coming here and playing in India and getting that feel, was important. We did all that,” he said.
He praised the bowlers and Ajinkya Rahane who took four outstanding catches on the field after failing with the bat. “Our bowlers did the job for us. Everyone got to bowl. In batting also most of them got the chances, except Virat (Kohli) and MS (Dhoni) but they have played a bit of cricket before this. Fielding effort was also very good. Rahane was brilliant on the field. We’ve one more practice match left. We are happy,” he said.
Rohit who has had a love affair with Eden since his early days spoke of his delight saying “it has been a happy hunting ground for me. “I love playing here. It’s been happy hunting ground for me. I love coming here and playing. It’s been good always but that does not mean I score always. I’ve to bat well to score runs and I was happy with the way it went for the team. It’s a typical Kolkata pitch, there was no change in it,” he said.