Shami's coach attributed his transformation to the influence of Wasim Akram during their time together at Kolkata Knight Riders

In a surprising turn of events, Mohammed Shami emerged as India’s World Cup superstar, proving his mettle despite not being part of the first-choice playing XI. An unfortunate injury to Hardik Pandya became the catalyst for Shami’s stellar performance, opening the door for him to showcase his skills on the big stage.

Shami’s ex-coach and former Ranji teammate shed light on the bowler’s exceptional abilities. Virat Kohli, in a conversation with his U-19 teammate Shreevats Goswami, shared insights into why facing Shami is more challenging than Jasprit Bumrah. According to Kohli, Shami’s subtle changes with his fingers make it difficult for batsmen to predict the movement of the ball, unlike the more readable Bumrah.

“Shami tweaks his fingers subtly. While it’s straightforward to anticipate Jasprit Bumrah’s deliveries, Shami keeps you guessing whether the ball is moving in or going away,” he said.

Shami’s exceptional performance in the World Cup, with 14 wickets in three games, including two fifers, silenced any doubts about the team’s need for a sixth-bowling option. Despite being initially overshadowed by Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, Shami seized the opportunity and showcased his prowess, becoming a vital asset for India.

Shami’s coach during his time with Mohun Bagan, Monayem, credited the legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram for Shami’s evolution as a bowler. Akram’s mentorship and focus on refining Shami’s release and wrist position played a pivotal role in shaping the bowler’s skills.

“Wasim Akram put in a lot of effort with him. Despite limited game time for KKR, he consistently stayed close to Wasim. It’s Wasim Akram who shaped him into the bowler he is today, along with his own hard work, of course,” he said.