New Delhi: Having battled weight and injury issues himself, former Australia pacer and KXIP bowling coach Ryan Harris is not surprised at the benefits a ‘leaner’ Mohammad Shami has reaped after drastically improving his fitness levels.
Having shed around 8 kgs, Shami has been able to bowl with pace consistently. He has also been able to stay injury-free over the last 12 months, helping him become a much-improved bowler and Virat Kohli’s go to man in the five-day format.
Harris, one of the stars of Australia’s 5-0 rout of England in the 2013-14 Ashes at home before a chronic knee injury cut short his career, could not be happier at Shami’s success over the last 18 months including in Australia.
“I don’t have to work much on him, he does it himself. He has been outstanding around the (KXIP)group, talking about plans, talking to me. Most guys want to pick his brains. If not the best, he is one of the best bowlers in the world at the moment,” Harris, who also works with junior Australian teams, told PTI.
How Shami got his mojo back is a case Harris can very much relate to. “The first couple of days I met him (at KXIP camp), he told me how he improved his fitness and dropped 7-8kgs. How he did some training in hot conditions in Chennai, making him lose weight rapidly. Knowing myself as well who went through a stage where I was a little heavy, it makes a big difference when you are not carrying that extra bit of weight. You can go longer (in your spells) and it is easier on your joints. He is bowling with good pace and good consistency and it is good to to see that.”
Shami was one of the architects of India’s maiden Test series triumph in Australia earlier this year alongside Jasprit Bumrah, who has successfully defied convention with an unusual action which many thought could hamper his career. “They (Shami and Bumrah) work well together. You have got Bumrah, who is a bit different and got pace and attacks whereas Shami can just come in and bowl stump to stump and does a fantastic job. It is pretty well rounded Indian attack, you have to say.”
As someone who is part of the KXIP support staff, Harris also had plenty to say on Ravichandran Ashwin’s ‘Mankading’ of Jos Buttler, the most talked about incident of the IPL so far. “There has been a little bit of talk about that. It is up to the captain and the bowler if he wants to do it and he (Ashwin) decided to do that. At the end of the day, the batter should stay in his crease. That is the only way it is not going to happen. There are some batters who sneak off for those extra two-three metres, that is against the rule. You warn them once and if they keep doing it, then you are in your right tight to do it (Mankad),” added Harris.