World Cup 2019: Was waiting for my chance to perform, says Mohammed Shami

Updated: Jun 24, 2019, 07:40 IST | Harit N Joshi

Mohammed Shami struggled to keep up with his fitness levels. He also missed the one-off Test against Afghanistan last June after failing the YoYo test. Prior to that, a knee injury had sidelined him for almost a year, after the 2015 World Cup

World Cup 2019: Was waiting for my chance to perform, says Mohammed Shami
India's Mohammed Shami celebrates the dismissal of Mohd Nabi

Harit N JoshiSouthampton: An injury to Bhuvneshwar Kumar paved the way for Mohammed Shami to get a look-in for the first time in India's World Cup campaign, against Afghanistan on Saturday. And the India pacer grabbed the opportunity with both hands, setting the Ageas Bowl on fire with a four-wicket haul that included a hat-trick to become only the 10th bowler and second Indian after Chetan Sharma to achieve the feat at a World Cup. "I was waiting for my chance to perform and show my skill. It is very rare that to get a hat-trick in the World Cup. I cannot express that feeling," said Shami, who was exhilarated after his hat-trick helped India win by 11 runs.

He threw his hands in the air, pumped his fist and thumped his chest. It was triumph against the odds given the turbulence Shami has bee through both on the personal as well as the professional front. His estranged wife accused him of domestic violence, an extra-maritial affair and also match fixing. The accusation of corruption prompted the BCCI to hold back his central contract last year before getting a clearance from the anti-corruption unit. With his personal life shattered, Shami struggled to keep up with his fitness levels. He also missed the one-off Test against Afghanistan last June after failing the YoYo test. Prior to that, a knee injury had sidelined him for almost a year, after the 2015 World Cup.

"If you see, I performed wherever I went and despite that, I wasn't getting a chance in the World Cup. It was frustrating, but I had to be calm, and work on my skills. I had to wait for my chance and be ready whenever it came," said Shami, who claimed 19 wickets in his last three ODI series before the World Cup. Shami also altered his diet to improve his fitness. "It's been a long journey across two years. I was a bit heavy after the injuries and the knee surgery and I could feel that after one spell. So I cut down on my food. Everyone laughs when I follow my diet plan. I don't have bread, sweets but when there is a match, it doesn't matter, as you need to eat carbs," said Shami.

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