Pat Cummins has given India a double blow in Adelaide. Not only did he pick 7 wickets and played a leading role with the ball in his country’s thumping 8-wicket victory but also is the reason India’s bowling spearhead, Mohammed Shami will miss the remainder of the series. Cummins hit Shami on the arm with a short-pitched delivery and the Indian speedster who retired hurt in the second innings has been ruled out of the tour due to a fracture.
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Shami’s absence will be a massive loss for India, almost as big as Kohli’s unavailability for the remainder of the series. He has been one of the greatest wicket-takers in world cricket in the last few years.
SHAMI – THE BEST STRIKE RATE IN INDIA’S TEST HISTORY
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Shami has picked 180 wickets in just 50 Tests at an average of 27.58 and strike rate of 49.9 at an economy rate of 3.31 in his career. His average is impressive and is pushed up as Shami is an attacking bowler and does not mind going for a few runs in the quest to take wickets. Thus what stands out, is his strike rate, ie, the number of balls he bowls per wicket – it is the best in India’s Test cricket history (min. 150 wickets). This is an astonishing achievement for someone who is not recognized in the same league as some other Indian greats. This basically means that Shami is a wicket-taking bowler in Test cricket (as he is in ODIs but that is a separate story for another day). His wicket-taking propensity places him miles ahead of the number 2 Indian pacer on this count – Zaheer Khan – who picked up a wicket approximately every 10 deliveries compared to Shami’s 8.
AMONGST THE BEST IN THE WORLD BETWEEN 2017-2019
Shami has had a strike rate of less than 50 in as many as 4 calendar years of his bowling career (min. 4 Tests a year) – his debut year – 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019. In fact, between 2017 and 2019, Shami has been the leading wicket-taker amongst Indian fast bowlers with 99 wickets in 25 Tests at just 22.86 apiece. Once again, the standout characteristic of his bowling during this period has been the strike rate. Shami’s strike rate of 43.3 in these three years is the fifth-best amongst all bowlers (min. 40 wickets) after Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada, Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel. Shami has a marginally better strike rate than even Jasprit Bumrah in this period and has also left the likes of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc behind on this count.
MATCH-WINNER FOR INDIA & QUALITY OF WICKETS
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Shami has picked 95 wickets in 25 victorious Tests for India. His strike rate of 40.6 in such matches is the third-best after Bumrah and Irfan Pathan. He has played an integral role in India’s impressive performance in the ongoing ICC Test Championship picking 36 wickets in just 10 Tests at 19.77 apiece in the competition. His strike rate of 39.9 is higher than the likes of Broad and Anderson, Hazlewood and Cummins, Rabada, Boult amongst others.
Shami picked 16 wickets each in England in 2018 and Australia in 2018-19. He was the joint highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets in 3 Tests in South Africa in 2018 and had bagged 13 on their return tour in 2019 at 14.76 apiece. He had picked 15 wickets in 3 Tests when India toured Australia in 2014-15.
Shami has picked 4 or more wickets in a Test on 24 occasions in his career. India has won or drawn 18 of these matches – this basically means that India has won or drawn 75% of the matches in which Shami has picked 4-plus wickets – another statistic which showcases the match winner Shami has been for India with the ball.
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119 of the 180 wickets taken by Shami (66.11%) have been of batsmen before they have reached 20 – this is an indicator that Shami gets most of his wickets when the opposition batsmen haven’t caused much damage early in their innings.
The absence of Shami has created a void which India will find difficult to fill in the remaining three Tests in Australia.