It’s the Fittest I Have Seen Him: Virat Kohli on Shami

Shami reached the 100-wicket mark in his 56th ODI on Wednesday to become the fastest Indian to do so.

2 min read
 Shami reached the 100-wicket mark in his 56th game, becoming the fastest Indian to the landmark in ODIs.

Skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday, 23 January, was lavish in his praise for pacer Mohammed Shami, the fastest Indian to 100 ODI wickets, saying the injury-prone bowler is at his best in terms of fitness right now.

Shami, who delivered a man of the match-winning haul of 3/19 in the first ODI against New Zealand here, failed the 'Yo-Yo' fitness test last year and was also bogged down by some personal issues.

But putting all those troubles behind him, Shami reached the 100-wicket mark in his 56th game. On Wednesday, he dismissed openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro in the six overs he bowled.

“The fast bowling group together believes they can knock any side over. And the belief in his (Shami) own ability and his fitness - this is the fittest I’ve seen him in his career. And his Test form has translated into one-day cricket.”
Virat Kohli on Mohammed Shami

Besides his injury woes, the 27-year-old Shami was troubled by allegations of domestic violence by his wife last year. He failed the 'Yo-Yo' fitness test ahead of the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June last year.

A 'Yo-Yo' test requires a player to sprint between two cones that are set 20 metres apart to the sound of a beep and is considered a reliable measure of an athlete's endurance and stamina.

Shami's comeback started in Australia, where he picked up 16 wickets in the Test series.

Speaking about India's eight-wicket win in Napier on Wednesday, Kohli said he was pleased with the all-round effort.

“It was one of our more balanced performances in the last few games. When I lost the toss, I thought it was going to be 300 par. 150-odd on that wicket was superb.”
Virat Kohli

For India, wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 4/39 in 10 overs, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedar Jadhav shared three wickets among themselves.

“The pitch got slow in the second half of the innings but in the first half, the spinners bowled well, cramped the batsmen and they still made it difficult despite the dimensions of the field.”
Virat Kohli

The skipper also praised opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was unbeaten on 75 in the 156-run chase.

"Really important innings for Shikhar and we spoke during the sun break that he needed to finish the game to get some momentum. He is a dangerous player when in rhythm," Kohli said.

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