India fast bowler Mohammed Shami said watching videos of England pacers Stuart Broad and James Anderson helped him exploit the English conditions better. Following an inconsistent performance on the South Africa tour and wading through a rough phase on the personal front, Shami has bowled nicely in the ongoing series against England, taking 16 wickets in five Tests.
"If you compare my performances on this tour with those in 2014, I have improved a lot. Overall, all of us have done well. I've learnt a lot, especially how to bowl away from home, how focused you need to be," Shami said.
"I've got to learn a lot. In 2014 when I came here, I wasn't that experienced. I wasn't mature either. This time, I watched videotapes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad's bowling. I saw what areas they bowled in, in these conditions. I've got to learn a lot," he added.
The pacer bowled his heart out in the first as well as the second innings, but had no reward to show for it.
He went wicket-less (0/72) in the first innings despite beating Moeen Ali innumerable times and took 2-110 in the second innings as England set an improbable 464-run target.
"Some things depend on luck too. When you bowl, your target is to bowl a good line and length. Whether you get a wicket or not depends on luck. Of course it is frustrating that I beat the bat many times and still didn't get a wicket. But it's okay. Whatever God gives me, I have to accept," Shami said.
Asked to put his overall performances in context, he said, "The saddest time is when as a bowler you work hard and don't succeed. The saddest time will be the first innings yesterday. I've never beaten the bat so many times in my life. When it comes to fun, all of our players like to joke around with each other. We have fun all the time. When you're on the field, you have to be serious. But off the field, to pass the time or ease the pressure, you need fun and music. We have both in our camp.
The visitors were a bowler short throughout the fourth day as Ishant Sharma bowled only one over in the morning and walked off the field with ankle pain.
India were already playing only four frontline bowlers, and with him missing, there was added burden on Shami and company, with Hanuma Vihari chipping in with 3-37.
"It's hard when you're a bowler short, and especially in these conditions when as a fast bowler you have to bowl. The load is greater. But it's not a big deal. It happens. Sometimes bowlers feel discomfort or in order to prevent injury you go off. It's fine. The understanding between us bowlers is good," he said.