Not the kind of pitches we wanted - Shami

Mohammed Shami sizes up his target in his run-up
India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Delhi, 3rd day December 04, 2017

For long periods in the Delhi Test, it will have seemed India are not getting what they wanted from it - preparation for the South Africa tour - but there also would have been satisfaction that they could put in long spells in testing conditions and come back with rewards towards the end of the day.

"The kind of wickets we wanted to prepare on before going to South Africa, we haven't been provided with those kind of wickets," Mohammed Shami, India's big hope for away tours, said. "So it didn't go as per our plans. But it's a good thing that on these kind of tracks, you need to work hard as a bowler. These kind of tracks test your fitness as you get to bowl long spells. Overall as a bowling unit, all bowlers have together bowled more than 100 overs (130 overs). So you can see how much effort we are putting."

For Shami personally, it was a bigger physical test because he had a bit of a cold coming into the Test. However, he did acknowledge - unlike his bowling coach B Arun on day two - that the Delhi pollution can have a serious, adverse effect on those not used to these conditions.

"I was a bit under the weather even before the match started," Shami said. "I had a cold. Yes, pollution is an aspect that we seriously need to think about. But not to the extent that it was being portrayed. Also, it could be that we are more used to it and our ability. I think we need to check what are the reasons of pollution and try to minimise it. Look, we are used to suffering from all these problems."

Then there were dropped catches, all three at second slip, by Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. This will be a big concern for India before the big tour, because slip catching to fast bowlers is crucial in those parts. Shami said it does frustrate the bowlers but it was something they had to put behind them.

"Fielders are not machines that they will grab anything that comes their way," Shami said. "Yes, you might get angry when a catch is dropped but we are a team, and we play together all the year around for the country. You have to ignore and move on."

Asked if the bowlers get a say in deciding the cordon and possibly pick fielders they are confident of, he said it is best if bowlers are kept away from these decisions. "It's after a long time this unit has dropped so many catches in a match," Shami said. "You need to take it in your stride and move on. We need to work hard and improve."

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