India struggled to break through the New Zealand top order on Day 3 of the WTC final, but one man continued to excite Indian fans with his probing lengths, though with continued bad luck — Mohammed Shami. Two Kiwi wickets fell by the end of the day, but Shami (0/19 in 11 overs) was not among them.
The first real chance India had was when an outside edge from Devon Conway flew just over Virat Kohli’s reach at third slip. A couple of overs later, another outside edge, this time Tom Latham’s, flew just over a leaping Ajinkya Rahane at gully. Shami the bowler both times.
When an inside edge went just past the stumps through to the keeper two balls later, it was inevitable that the familiar conversation around Shami’s luck in England was brought back.
“How long can you say Shami is unlucky in England?” asked Michael Atherton on air, pointing to his record of 21 wickets in 9 matches at an average of 47.
Dinesh Karthik, his co-commentator, and Shami’s teammate on the famously unlucky 2018 tour, replied by saying he wished there was a record of the number of chances created for bowlers.
So @DineshKarthik asks; @DineshKarthik gets. Here are the numbers that underline how well Shami bowled in the 2018 series – drawing a huge number of false shots. #INDvNZ #WTC21 pic.twitter.com/NtTx5xQ13e
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) June 20, 2021
According to Cricviz, on the 2018 tour, 26% of Shami’s deliveries brought an edge or a miss. Only 55% of the chances created from Shami’s bowling were taken and he had five catches dropped off his bowling.
“It depends on luck sometimes,” Shami had said after the defeat in the Oval Test. “As a bowler, your main target is to hit good areas consistently. Whether that yields wickets depends on luck, but it is certainly a bit frustrating … the ball beat the bat several times, but it’s fine, I’ve to accept the wickets I got.”
It was this familiar theme which was continuing in Southampton on Sunday, it would seem.
As for Atherton’s question about that record of 21 wickets at an average of 47, Shami’s record on the 2014 tour — 5 wickets in 3 matches at an average of 73 — makes his current record in England unmentionable, but it is well known that ‘second innings’ Shami saves his best for the end.