Mohammed Shami in a spot of bother after recent low in career

Imagine being the top wicket-taker for India in South Africa and helping the national team to win a Test match in a nation where India have fared poorly over the years. Mohammed Shami must have thought that this was a new chapter in his cricket career after picking 15 wickets in three Tests against the Proteas earlier this year.

The injury-prone fast bowler looked in shape and in tremendous control as he continuously spelled trouble for the hosts. His variety of swing, consistency over 140 kph and providing a headache for batsmen in judging his deliveries was a class act. Shami grew with every match and the others seemed to have rallied in around him.

What looked like an exciting phase for the bowler and Indian cricket has now turned into something that both parties would not have liked. After all the promise and buzz, the last few months haven't gone according to plans for the right-arm fast bowler. He finds himself out of the Indian team despite earlier having been selected for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, starting June 14.

Shami failed the Yo-Yo fitness test, prompting the selectors to summon rookie Delhi speedster Navdeep Saini in his place. The 27-year-old Shami, who has 110 wickets from 30 Tests, is now in a spot of bother with everything that has been happening around him.

So where did it go all wrong for the pace bowler?

Allegations domestic violence by wife Hasin Jahan took center stage and the issues just got deeper. Besides domestic violence, allegations were made by Jahan on match-fixing and adultery. She also alleged that the Indian cricketer fudged his age to fool the BCCI.

The BCCI had held Shami's contract. But after investigations, he was cleared by the cricket board and was awarded a Grade B contract. Although Shami cleared of all charges, the issues were still looming.

Shami had a dismal Indian Premier League 2018 season and was a disaster for Delhi Daredevils. He ended up playing just four matches and took three wickets at a woeful average of 48.00.He was subsequently dropped from the team and did not feature any more. DD went on to finish last in the IPL table.

After being selected for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, the idea for Shami was to get back to the mold once again and recapture his form. But failing the fitness test has brought a new headache that suggests he not only needs to build his form, but also regain his physical strength.

Shami would have wanted to use this Test match as an opportunity to make it big in the upcoming Test series against England starting August 1. But now he has put himself in a position of doubt for the same. The issue for Shami lies in the fact that India have plenty of first team pacers and even if he makes it in the squad for England, he won't be assured of a start.

Moreover all eyes will be on him once the Test squad for England series is announced. Will the selectors choose him given what all has happened since the productive South Africa series? If they do, the he will have to pass another yo-yo test that will test his physical attributes once again.

Shami was expected to lead the Indian bowling attack against both Afghanistan and England, but now those have turned into a sour reality. The question lies in the fact that what is next for the pacer? Will he be able to get back to reckoning or has missed the chance to grab the opportunity as a leader.

India play five Tests against England, starting August 1.


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