Thousands throng to welcome home India’s new pace find

Shami Ahmed

When Tousif imagined Shami's debut, he pictured his son playing against Pakistan. "Indeed, I wanted it that way and yesterday it was the biggest moment of my life," he said. "We didn't miss the action for a moment. And the way he bowled, he made us proud."

Shami will have to leave home on Tuesday for Rajkot, where India will play England in the first ODI. But the family is doing its best to make this evening special. "Today's biryani will have a special taste," said mother Anjum. On the eve of his India debut, Shami called Badruddin, his first coach, for advice. "He was a little nervous. I told him to bowl the way he bowls in the Ranji Trophy. After the game he called me to say that captain and all the team members had words of encouragement for him," Badruddin said.

W V Raman, Shami's Bengal coach, was impressed by his showing in the third ODI against Pakistan. "Four maiden overs on debut is an extraordinary performance. It was a low-scoring game and the bowlers were under pressure. He handled the situation very well. As far as his progress is concerned, a lot will depend on how he is going to be used from here on. A bowler needs to be handled well by his captain," Raman said. Sourav Ganguly, who has played a significant role in Shami's rise, wants the fast bowler to carry forward his good work. "He has made a good start. He bowled with a lot of maturity for a debutant," he said. "Now he has to grow into the game."

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