Mohammed Shami holy chokeslams. Watching Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah in full tilt together is a sight for sore eyes.

There is something different about Mohammed Shami. And no, it’s not his hairline that’s regrowing. He was the first bowler out on the ground to warm up before India’s sternest test yet of World Cup 2023. He gingerly marks his run-up, goes even more nimble-footed, and simply jaywalks to the crease while releasing the first ball. Soon, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah join in, and the three India pacers, albeit briefly, make the Dharamsala practice pitch resemble a spitting replica of the WACA in its prime. The fielding coach is all over the place trying to collect their fiery ‘looseners’. You know something special is coming up. 15 minutes later, Rohit Sharma wins the toss and bowls again – the fifth time this World Cup. On this one’s going to be good. The reunion of the holy trinity that is Bumrah, Shami, and Siraj.

Shami vs Bumrah records

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Shami’s Match-Winning Performance in the World Cup Semi-Final (Mohammed Shami holy chokeslams):

Once Hardik Pandya was ruled out, Shami was an automatic shoe-in. He is aware of India’s predicament. They want some batting back-up; hence Shardul Thakur has been elbowing past Shami in the Playing XI. They know, we know, the fans, the expert… all know who the better bowler is. But it’s what gives the team balance. So what does he do? Playing his first match of the World Cup, Shami picks five of New Zealand’s last six wickets to fall in the final 10 overs, all for just 54 runs. New Zealand were cruising. They really were, despite being 2 down for 19 against the only team of their match in this tournament. At 205/3, they were primed to breach the 300-run mark. Dew or no dew. Chasing 300 is no cakewalk, especially against a team you have your nightmares against.

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If you’re a 90s kid, you’re probably aware of what a chokeslam is. You have, at some point, either executed it on your younger sibling or been at the receiving end of it. For the rare portion which doesn’t, it’s a move used by athletes in the WWE, where a heavyweight wrestler grabs the opponent by his throat, lifts him up and slams him on the mat. It was most famously used by WWE Hall of Famers, Kane and The Undertaker. Even the Big Show used it, but no one made it more popular than ‘The Brothers of Destruction’. Shami’s built, demeanour is nothing like either Kane or Taker, but his chokeslam exemplified the proper breakdown of the word. He first choked New Zealand by stifling the scoring and then slammed the Kiwis.

Shami, Bumrah, and Siraj Shine as India’s Bowlers Dominate New Zealand’s Innings

A wicket off the first ball was a dream start but Shami’s next over was possibly the most eventful of the innings. A four, a catch dropped and a decision turned against India. Siraj and Bumrah built the pressure – 19 off the first 24 balls they bowled combined were dots – and Shami fed on it. And once there was a hint of reverse swing, which with the introduction of two new balls has become as rare as Virat Kohli playing a lap, scoop or a paddle sweep, Shami simply thrived. If Kuldeep Yadav pulled things back for India to take two wickets after Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra had laid into him, Shami did not waste time either, and burst through the tail. He induced 17 false strokes and took out the dangerous Mitchell Santner to ensure New Zealand remained tied down.

Shami alone however wasn’t responsible for NZ’s quiet finish. Bumrah and Siraj went full yorker length in the death overs and landed almost all of them accurately. The next over, as Bumrah chased the ball to the boundary, he abandoned the pursuit moments before it hit the ropes. He knew it wasn’t worth putting in a dive on this outfield. Bumrah wasn’t going to jeopardise his World Cup campaign for two runs and rightly so. He had done his bit with the new ball, starting with a maiden over and leaving Devon Conway, New Zealand’s in-form batter, clueless. And if there was a modicum of room left to improve, Bumrah completed that formality of registering himself in the wicket column.

The Unconventional Brilliance of Siraj, Shami, and Bumrah in Indian Cricket:

And then there was Siraj, who was doing… well, Siraj things. As menacing as his bowling was in tandem with Bumrah, Siraj on the field was a different beast. Everytime the ball went to him and Ravindra looked for a second run, Mitchell’s hands went up instantly, accompanied by a shrill ‘No’. The one occasion Ravindra didn’t listen, he almost got his partner run out. The sight of Bumrah, Shami and Siraj bowling at full throttle was as breathtaking as watching Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Roberto Carlos dribbling past the best defenses for Brazil, or the one OG holy trinity of Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and George Best with Manchester United.

“When you talk about bonding – it’s very important that you should always play as a unit with the second and third partners. We have repeated this a lot in the Test matches as well. There were three people in the first unit, Siraj was also in it; Bumrah was also added. So, we have a good package. As far as enjoying is concerned, if you revel in the success of others, you will get better results. And the medal of the dressing room as well, I believe we will get one today as well once we return,” Siraj said while replying to a question from Hindustan Times.

Unfortunately, though, there won’t be many opportunities to see the three of them in the same Playing XI. At least not as long as this temptation of having a batting cushion exists. But having done the best he could, Shami can at least, or may have already have, challenged the thought process of the team management. Shami has 36 wickets in World Cups, is the only Indian bowler to pick 2 five-wicket-hauls at World Cups and has grabbed two 5-fors in his last three ODIs.

The question remains: Are Rohit and Rahul Dravid convinced?

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