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'Don't forget what he has achieved for India' - Shami defends off-colour Bumrah
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'Don't forget what he has achieved for India' - Shami defends off-colour Bumrah

Mohammed Shami has vociferously opposed the criticism levelled at Jasprit Bumrah following the latter's barren run in the recently concluded ODI series in New Zealand.

Bumrah went wicketless across the three ODIs with India succumbing to a rare series whitewash in the 50-over format.

The right-arm paceman's disappointing return to the national side after a lengthy layoff due to injury does not bode well for India heading into the two-Test series against the Black Caps.

However, Shami believes his new-ball partner still has a lot to offer in all three formats and took a potshot at critics by reminding them of Bumrah's stellar bowling record.

"How can people forget Jasprit Bumrah's numerous match-winning performances just after a couple of indifferent ODI games?" a peeved Shami asked rhetorically.

"I can understand we are discussing on a topic [after a certain length of time] not just after 2-4 games. Just because he hasn't performed in two games, you can't just ignore his ability to win matches," he said after emerging as the most successful Indian bowler in the warm-up game against New Zealand XI.

"What Bumrah has achieved for India, how can you even forget that or for that matter ignore it? So if you think positively, then it's good for the player and his confidence also."

Shami proceeded to shed light on the challenges of bouncing back from a serious injury and spoke of his personal experience of combatting niggles in the past to continue serving India.

"As a sportsman, it's very different. From outside, it is very easy to nitpick as some have a job to comment and earn money. Every sportsman can get injured and one should try and look at the positives rather than harp on negatives. I also got injured in 2015 [knee surgery] but then bounced back."

"People tend to think very differently and when you do not do well for a few games, their viewpoint about you changes. So on our part, we shouldn't over-think."

Shami has tremendously grown in stature over the last few years, often leading the charge in India's Test unit with his ability to generate extravagant reverse swing.

The 29-year-old has thus mentioned he looks forward to the role of grooming the rookie members of the side, allowing them the chance to make a seamless transition to the top level.

"Experience matters as you then don't panic easily. You have faced different situations and know what to do. That is valuable.

"So when an experienced player is around and you bring a youngster, he matures quickly. So in our team, we guide our youngsters, joke and laugh with them, make them feel comfortable so that they don't feel that there is a distance between seniors and juniors."

The first of India's two five-day clashes against New Zealand begins on February 21.