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Mohammed Shami Says he battled off-field problems through cricket

Mohammed Shami believes that his love for cricket helped him battle the off-field problems that pegged him back a few months ago. Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan had, a few months ago, accused him of a series of things, ranging from domestic violence and extra-marital affairs to match-fixing. Mohammed Shami was also involved in an accident and subsequently failed the yo-yo test and was dropped from the Indian squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan. However, his return to the fold was an auspicious one as he claimed two wickets on the first day of the first Test against England at Edgbaston.

“(The tour of) South Africa was a long time ago and there have been some off field issues after that. I had to fight a lot in between but my effort was that I have to keep doing what I love most and what is most important to me (cricket),” Shami said, addressing the media after Day One.

“I wanted to just keep doing my job and then see what happens to the rest of the stuff in my life. Whatever difficulties I face, first I wanted to play cricket and keep doing it. The result is in front of us.”

Shami, who was India’s highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps in the 2-1 loss to South Africa, said he was satisfied with his and team’s efforts on the field on the opening day.

“As a bowling unit and as an individual I am very happy today. This is the thing I have worked hard for and we have been able to bring it forward successfully,” he said.

“There are ups and downs in life and in your family. But when playing for your country there is a responsibility and when you do that job properly, I think that’s the best thing. So I am very happy with today.

“In the morning the wicket was a little slower and there was hard work for sure. On such wickets we have to maintain good line and length all day. It was a little tough initially because it was slow and a little damp. We didn’t do anything extra during those overs,” Shami said.

“Initially when you bowl on such wickets here you get an idea how it will behave and what you need to keep doing. So there weren’t many changes in our approach during the day but we tried to control line and length through the day, and tried not to give any width,” he added.

Shami said the pacers combined well with the lone spinner and they did not feel the need for a second spinner.

“If you see in a Test match, there is a lot of time and you can come back if there is a good partnership. You bowl according to the wicket and batsmen, so as a captain or as a bowler, you get to think,” he said.

“You can assess situation as per the wicket, and that’s how you choose your bowling unit and then work on the basis of that. So you cannot say that we missed or will miss an extra spinner.

“We have to believe in the team selection and fight with the same group of bowlers, instead of thinking what you don’t have,” said Shami.

He also heaped praise on Ashwin (4/60) for registering his best figures in Test cricket across South Africa, England and Australia.

“He bowled very well today. Usually in English conditions, you see fast bowlers doing well. For a spinner to come early in the spell and do so well, it gave us confidence too.”