Mohammed Siraj (L) and Mohammed Shami in conversation. (BCCI.TV)
While Mohammed Siraj’s celebration may be a manifestation of the passion that comes with donning the Indian jersey and doing well in it, there is merit in Mohammed Shami’s words
Mohammed Shami has advised his fast-bowling partner Mohammed Siraj to keep away from his high-octane ‘Siu’ celebration emulating football star Cristiano Ronaldo after taking a wicket.
The two new-ball bowlers engaged in a candid chat following India’s five-wicket win over Australia in the first ODI of the series in Mumbai on Friday and Shami wanted to know from Siraj the secret behind his celebrations. “Mera celebration ka simple hain. Main Cristiano ko follow karta hoon aur uska fan bhi hoon. Jab bowled hota hain tabhi main woh celebration karta hoon aur fine-leg pe catch jaati hain toh main celebration nahi karta hoon (It’s simple. I follow Cristiano Ronaldo and I am his fan. I do this celebration when I get a batsman bowled. I don’t do it when it’s a catch at fine-leg),” Siraj said.
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However, senior pro Shami sounded an alarm. “Ek advice hain. Acha baat hain aap kisi ke fan hain. As a fast bowler aapko yeh jumpo se thoda sa duur rehna chahiye (I have some advice. It’s good to be someone’s fan, but as a fast bowler you need to stay away from such jumps),” Shami told Siraj affectionately. Siraj agreed.
While Siraj’s celebration may be a manifestation of the passion that comes with donning the Indian jersey and doing well in it, that too against a frontline opposition like Australia in front of doting home fans, there is indeed a lot of merits in Shami’s words. No player must do anything that puts him at an injury risk, and the stakes are even higher for fast bowlers, whose occupation is something that in any case puts them through a lot of physical stress and strain. That being the case, celebrations, which may cause an injury, are unnecessary and must be avoided.
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The importance of India’s pacers staying injury-free gets heightened when you consider that there are two big events coming up in the next few months – the ICC World Test Championship Final in June and the ICC World Cup in October-November. India are already without the services of their match-winning pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who has been sidelined due to a back problem and there is no clarity on when he can rejoin. In Bumrah’s absence, Siraj has stepped up and given Shami fine support and India can ill-afford to have him sidelined due to a freak injury.
Talking of fast bowlers getting injured after performing energetic celebrations, the name of Pakistan’s Hasan Ali readily comes to mind. His trademark ‘bomb explosion’ celebration in an ODI against Zimbabwe back in 2018 caused him to strain a neck muscle. England’s Olly Stone hurt his knee while celebrating a wicket in a NatWest T20 Blast match in 2016. There is also the case of England Women’s Katherine Sciver-Brunt, who hurt herself while celebrating a wicket in an ODI against Australia in 2019. Most recently, South African spinner Keshav Maharaj sustained an Achilles injury while celebrating a wicket in a Test against West Indies earlier this year and had to be stretchered off.
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