A striking memory of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup for most Indian fans has to be the pulsating performance of fast bowler Mohammed Shami. The pacer from Uttar Pradesh was the second highest wicket-taker for the then defending champions, which included a four-wicket haul against arch rivals Pakistan.
Despite nursing a knee injury, the full extent of which would be discovered only much after, Mohammed Shami was ruthless in that World Cup campaign, playing all but one of the games and picking up 17 wickets. Five years on from the World Cup in Australia, Shami opened up on his injury, giving all an insight into his caliber and mental fortitude.
“After every match, while the team went back to the hotel I went to the doctor. The doctors used to remove around 40-50ml of fluid and pus from my knee, and give me a steroid injection with the permissible amount.
“Then I was on three days of bed rest, fourth day I used to warm up on the grounds, fifth day I used to ball just six deliveries in the nets and next day I was ready for the match,” revealed Mohammed Shami in an interview to cricinfo.
“This was my routine throughout the 2015 World Cup. I took around six or seven of those pain killer injections,” added the fast bowler.
A gutsy choice
Prior to the World Cup, Shami was part of the Indian team that toured Australia in the summer, playing in both the Test as well as limited overs games. The relentless workload of that series took its toll on Shami’s body in India’s opening game against Pakistan.
“After the game against Pakistan in Adelaide, my knee pain started. There was a lot of swelling on my knee,” recalls the 29-year-old. With the knee discomfort striking in the middle of the World Cup, Shami was posed with a major dilemma.
“The doctors told me that if I pulled out of the World Cup now, it would take about six months for the injury to deal. However, if I could play through the pain, then post the World Cup I could get a surgery done and that would take eight months to heal,” revealed Shami in the interview.
Without thinking twice, the Kings XI Punjab pacer chose the country over himself, risking a deteriorating injury in the hopes of retaining the World Cup for India. Playing through the pain, Shami performed admirably during that World Cup, ending it as the fourth highest wicket-taker.
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After returning from Australia, Shami underwent a knee surgery, staying out of the game for nearly 18 months, but his splendid performances at domestic level and at the VIVO Indian Premier League has helped him reclaim his spot in all forms of the game.
While the cricketers were waging a battle against the other teams to win the World Cup crown in 2015, unbeknownst to most, Mohammed Shami was fighting a war against his own body. A true testament to his caliber and mental fortitude, Shami’s triumph over his knee injury is a success story that has greatly benefited Indian cricket.