Always prefer game time over practice: Shami on workload management ahead of ODI World Cup

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The Indian cricket team has put additional focus on workload management ahead of the ODI World Cup at home but senior pacer Mohammed Shami believes there is no better way to maintain optimum fitness than playing matches regularly.

Earlier this month, the BCCI had announced that the National Cricket Academy will work in tandem with the IPL franchisees to monitor the fitness of the “targeted” players for the ODI World Cup in October-November. Shami is a key member of the squad.

“I always prefer playing matches over practice. It is always better to play maximum number of games to get ready for a big event. Load is being managed and it is being managed properly.

“I just hope the main players stay in a good zone (ahead of the World Cup),” said Shami after a match-winning spell in the second ODI against New Zealand here on Saturday.

Shami troubled the New Zealand batters with his seam movement to end with figures of three for 18 in six overs. The visitors were bowled out for 108 and India chased down the target in 20.1 overs.

Mohammed Siraj too made the ball talk. His senior partner Shami said the wicket was damp early but conditions were not overtly bowling friendly.

“It was a damp wicket, but it was important to keep good line and length. All the bowlers were disciplined and the result is for all to see.

“Conditions were not as good as it seemed. They got out early but conditions were not overtly bowler friendly. We dismissed them cheaply by bowling a testing length.” On his role as a senior bowler in the team, he said: “As far as I am concerned, I always talk to the bowler. I know he is putting in the effort but, at times, you don’t get the desired results and that can improve if you talk to your bowling partner. That is the role I like to play when I am bowling.

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“My role hasn’t changed since I have come into the team (laughs). The only thing is to keep working on the fitness and diet,” said Shami.
With the series already in the bag, Shami said the team could give opportunities to uncapped Rajat Patidar and Umran Malik in the third and final ODI in Indore on Tuesday.

“The management will take a call on that but they can be given an opportunity now that the series is won,” he said.

Shami also said that it is too early to finalise the squad combination with the World Cup more than six months away.

“If people still doubt the Indian team despite the results it has given in the last four to six years, World Cup is still long time away. We need to play a lot of games and need to try out more players before that,” Shami added.


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