New Delhi: Elated with his favourite student making an impressive ODI debut for India, Shami Ahmed's coach Badruddin Siddique said he advised the young speedster to treat his first international outing as just a Ranji game. Shami made his debut for India against Pakistan in the third and final ODI of the three-match series.
"He called me in morning of the match to inform that he was playing and sounded nervous. I told him to treat it as a Ranji Trophy match where he is bowling for Bengal. What made me proud is that he bowled four successive maidens.
"An Indian record on debut and he could have even emulated the great Andy Roberts' feat of five consecutive maidens. What more can a coach ask for?," said Badruddin from his Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) residence. Asked what makes Shami a special bowler, the coach said: "Shami always seeks perfection. Among the 250-odd students who I coached, his sincerity stands out. If I ask him to correct something in his game, he won't rest unless he gets it done.
In fact, there were times when I got irritated when he pestered me to watch every delivery that he bowled. Even if I had told him that he was doing it right, he would insist me to watch every delivery." Badruddin feels that turning point for Shami was shifting to Bengal rather than staying in UP.
"In UP, the state team selection is on the basis of trials and I felt it was better off to send him to Bengal where he could get to play a lot of club matches. "Shami first played club cricket, then Bengal U-22, senior Bengal T20 squad followed by Ranji Trophy. So it has been a gradual rise to the national team. But trust me, this is just the beginning," he insisted.
The coach said that despite coming from an affluent background (his father Tausif Ahmed is a farmer and also one of the leaders of the near by Alinagar village Panchayat), the 22-year-old comes across as a humble person. "He is the most obedient and humble lad. His is a family of farmers and they are financially well off. But I haven't seen him throw his weight around during practice. Unlike a lot of other boys, I have never seen him speak on cell phone during training sessions.
"He used to be very quiet before he shifted base to Kolkata. Once he started playing for Bengal, he has now learnt to open up a bit," said Badruddin.