India seam bowler, Mohammed Shami has attributed learnings from legendary pacers Wasim Akram and Zaheer Khan instrumental for shaping his career.
Shami and Akram were part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) camp during the former’s initial years in domestic cricket.
After making his debut for India in 2012-13 season, Shami has represented the country in all formats of the game. He has picked up as many as 180 Test wickets and 144 ODI wickets in his career.
“When I came to KKR, I realised the skill and value associated with cricket. I watched Wasim Akram all my life on television, but with KKR, I had the chance to learn from him. For the initial days, I was not even able to talk to him,” Shami revealed during the Instagram Live session with his Bengal teammate Manoj Tiwary.
Akram, for several seasons, took up a coaching role at the KKR camp. With 916 international wickets to his name, Akram stands fifth in the tally of most number of wickets in all formats.
“Wasim Bhai came up to me then, and he initiated the conversation with me, and he started telling me things about bowling. He read me very fast. He realised what I am all about. I learnt a lot from him. If you have someone experienced close to you, then you should not shy away and try to learn maximum things as well,” added Shami.
Perhaps the best pacer produced by India, Zaheer Khan, passed on the baton of pace front to the likes of Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.
However, Shami and Zaheer IPL stints coincided during their stay at the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). In his 14-year long career, Zaheer has scalped 610 wickets across all formats.
“Zaheer Bhai and I did not play much together, but whenever I got the chance to talk to him, he was very helpful. I spent time with him during IPL stint with Delhi Capitals, Zaheer Bhai is very experienced, I just wanted to learn how to go about bowling with the new ball,” concluded Zaheer.