Kolkata, Nov 24: Pakistani pace bowling legend Wasim Akram still recalls his first day at the nets of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Eden Gardens. He was so impressed to have watched the smoothness and easy action of a pace bowler that forced him to know about him from other cricketers.
Mohammed Shami has hogged limelight once again by cracking Alastair Cook’s stump in the recently concluded second Test in Visakhapatnam. India won the match by 246 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match rubber.
And Wasim Akram, who is one of the mentors of Shami during his playing days with KKR in the IPL, was simply moved by Shami's fire on the pitch.
The legendary fast bowler was on a hurricane trip to India for a few hours a couple of days ago.
And amidst his business, he said over phone, "The key strength in Shami I noticed after meeting with him for the first time at the nets of KKR was his tenacity. Naturally he never used to give up. Even after the end of scheduled training at the KKR nets, sometimes I used to ask Shami whether he would like to continue bowling. And despite being exhausted after a rigorous practice session, Shami never refused. I can remember that I used to stand behind the wickets and he used to continue bowling only towards the stumps."
Along with Akram the first coach of Shami in Uttar Pradesh, Badruddin was also nostalgic about his student's fiery bowing in Visakhpatnam Test.
Badruddin, talking over phone from Varanasi recently, said, "Wasim Akram is the man who taught him about the tricks of reverse swing. Shami had also determination and he got a teacher like Akram."
While recalling the early days of Shami at his coaching centre, Badruddin added, "His father brought him to my coaching centre. And on the very first day I could realise that Shami has special talent as he was bowling at a great speed right from the beginning."