The Telegraph
Monday , December 24 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘The call-up came at an ideal time’

Calcutta: Having been picked in the India squad for the one-dayers versus Pakistan, Shami Ahmed is not feeling the pressure. Rather, he’s enjoying it.

“Pressure will always be there while playing at the highest level. It all depends on how you deal with it. As far as I’m concerned, I enjoy pressure and keep myself ready for it,” Shami said on Sunday.

The pacer has been the only silver lining in the Bengal team during a sloppy season so far.

Having taken 28 wickets so far in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, it was Shami’s effort — a 10-wicket haul — that played a significant role in Bengal galloping to victory against Hyderabad in their last appearance.

Consistency and discipline are the 22-year old’s strengths, who has concentrated on the basics instead of striving for extra pace.

“I don’t think trying out new things will be of much help. Rather, I feel I should keep maintaining the approach I normally follow — make the batsman play as much as possible and force him to commit mistakes,” he pointed out.

The India call-up, Shami feels, has come at an ideal time as he’s among the wickets.

“I’m fortunate that the break has come when I’m in good form. For a player, being in form is essential... Otherwise, he might find the going extremely difficult,” he said.

His inclusion, though, didn’t come as a surprise to him. “Honestly, I was expecting something positive.

“With quite a few of the key pacers nursing injuries, I felt I could be in with a chance. And then, thanks to the phone calls and news channels, I came to know about the news.”

Often in the past, Shami has spoken about the role legendary Pakistan all-rounder Wasim Akram played in helping him develop his skills as a fast bowler.

At the same time, Akram, too last week had said that Shami deserved a place in the side.

“Wasimbhai’s tips have been hugely beneficialů Being alongside him while representing the Kolkata Knight Riders (in the IPL), I not only learnt about making good use of the seam and the yorker or pitching the ball in the right areas, but also several small matters that are important aspects of bowling,” he said.