Mohammad Shami’s mastery over reverse swing has been one of the big plus points for the Indian team while playing on slow unresponsive pitches, feels India opener Rohit Sharma.
Shami picked up his fifth five wicket haul in Tests as India comfortably beat South Africa by 203 runs.
“We have seen him (Shami) in these conditions not just today but earlier also. I still remember our debut together in Kolkata (2013), where the pitch was not exactly like this but on day four and five, it was slightly lower and slower,” Rohit, who scored twin hundreds on his opening “debut” said.
“He knows how to bowl on these pitches, gets reverse swing straight into play once he knows there is some help on offer,” said Rohit.
Executing reverse swing is easier said than done, feels the stylish Mumbaikar.
“It is not easy to bowl when the reverse is happening. You need to pitch in the right areas, need to make sure the ball is just around the off-stump and it comes and hits the middle-stump. He has mastered that art now, bowling with the old ball and getting it to reverse.”
The conditions in Visakhapatnam were ideal for him as the Bengal speedster got the ball to reverse both ways.
“Yes these type of conditions are pretty ideal for him. He makes them play all the balls and it is tough for the batsmen on a pitch like this, where the ball was doing something from the cracks. It keeps you in the game.
“Batsmen doesn’t know which way it will reverse swing. I would say he has mastered how to bowl with the old ball,” he added.
Wriddhiman Saha replaced Rishabh Pant in the playing eleven for the series opener after the former had warmed the bench in the two Tests in the West Indies. Rohit said Pant and Saha share a good rapport.
“I thought Saha kept really well. We have grown up in these conditions but it is not easy for the ‘keeper in these conditions because the odd ball turns, stays low, and there is sudden bounce also,” he observed.
“I don’t know about that technically but as a keeper you have to stay very still and I thought he did a great job. He is also a great help for DRS Calls. He is a big part of our line up and that is why he is back in the squad.”
However he had words of praise for young Pant, who is also a match-winner in his own right.
“Speaking of Pant, he is definitely a quality that any team wants. Who should play and who should not (between Saha and Pant) I am not getting into that but we have seen what Pant can do with the bat.
“Of course, he is working hard on his game, both batting and keeping. Keeping plays a big part in these conditions and I am sure the support staff will ensure Pant gets better with time. He can also learn a lot from Saha. In the West Indies, Saha guided him after every session. They have a great understanding.”
Rohit made a dream start as a Test opener and shattered multiple records. However, he is not getting ahead of time and said it is still early days for him.
“That communication (on opening) between management and myself happened long time ago that I might have to do past at some stage. So for the past two or three years I was prepared for it mentally.
“Whenever I was not playing a Test match, in the nets I was batting with the new ball trying to be ready if the opportunity come. It’s a great start and I have long way to go. It’s not the end, it’s the start. Good things are about to follow,” said Rohit.
“All those things are nice to happen along the way but have said many times I am not here for records. I just want to enjoy the game. I know it might be boring but that is what it is.”