Auckland: India's pace spearhead Mohammed Shami feels a certain degree of comfort playing under Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the Indian captain has never been "demanding" and his backing has made the Bengal seamer's transformation from domestic to international cricket pretty smooth.Shami is India's highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 12 victims in five matches.
Asked about Dhoni's contribution in his two-year international career, Shami said: "I like the way he (Dhoni) handles the team and handles me as a bowler as I have made my debut under him across all formats. I am always free and I have never been tensed when he has captained the side.
"He is not someone, who demands certain things from me. He is someone who has always told me about my mistakes and asked me not to repeat them in the future. He never gets angry. He will tell you things very calmly and handles the situation well which helps a bowler," the normally reticent Shami couldn't stop raving about his captain at the pre-match media conference, here today.
For Shami, it's paramount as a bowler that he gets proper backing from the captain and Dhoni has exactly done that. In fact, he went a step ahead and said that he felt more comfortable in the Indian dressing room than the domestic team (Bengal) that he played.
"The support and backing of your captain despite making mistakes is very important and Dhoni does that. It has been a plus point for me that I have played and made my debut under him," he said.
"When I was playing domestic cricket (for Bengal), I used to think about what I would talk to the seniors when I reach the international level. When I came to the international level, I felt a lot more comfortable than the domestic level. This is the confidence that has helped me thus far and I will try to take forward this self confidence ahead," he added.
Asked how the Indian bowling unit has devised their plans which has enabled them to dismiss all the five oppositions so far, Shami said, "It depends what kind of a situation you are in and what plans are at place.
"You look to work on those plans and bowl accordingly. As a bowler, you have your own plan and so does the captain and you need to have both of them in mind while bowling. We follow those plans. If 'Plan A' is not working then we switch to Plan B."
Indian bowlers have endured a lot of hammering in 'Australia Summer' but making a strong come back after a bad phase gives you the true essence of international cricket.
"Having good and bad days is part of the game and as a cricketer you will have good and bad days. I have had a long tour so far. While playing Test matches, the mentality and training was according to that format of the game and the mindset keeps changing as and when you are up to the series to follow," said Shami.
"It isn't that tough. We are not juniors where were you are taught certain things. We change our mindset according to the format of the game.
"Keeping the bad days in mind will only affect your thinking; instead it is better to move on and think forward," said Shami, who has 82 wickets from 44 ODI matches.
That he is cool customer was proved when someone asked him the way to get out of bad patch.
"I would like to believe that till now I haven't had that bad a patch that I could think about it. It is by God's grace that everything going well at the moment for me," Shami said.
"Whenever I go through a rough patch or a bad day, I go back to my room and think about my mistakes. Or, I talk to my captain and teammates and ask for suggestions from them on how to get better. I try to rectify the mistakes in my practice sessions and I become alright. Phir main main mast baan jataa hoon (I am chilled out)," said the Moradabad born pacer.
Although Zimbabwe match is of inconsequential nature, Shami said that they are not taking the opposition lightly.
"Irrespective of the opposition, we always look to win games. Cricket is a game of uncertainties and we always look to play the way we have been playing till now and it will be no different against Zimbabwe."
Questioned if there has been any kind of adjustments that one has to do from the bigger grounds in Australia to the smaller ground in New Zealand, he said, "Since the grounds in Australia are bigger you have more options of bowling in terms of area. You can pitch the ball up and use variations. In smaller grounds you cannot make mistakes and you cannot give the batsmen much chances of run-scoring."
Since he has had more success with the white kookaburra, a question was posed on whether he is more comfortable in the 50-over format.Shami cooly replied, "You don't look at the comfort zone in international level. You need to deliver in the conditions that are presented to you. Comfort zone cannot occupy your mind. I want to try and learn from the senior players and bowlers on how they have bowled in different conditions and how it has worked for them."
During his stint at the Kolkata Knight Riders, Shami had interacted a lot with Wasim Akram but he doesn't attribute his success to any particular individual.
"I speak to a lot of senior players not only Akram or Hadlee. I try to understand, what are the things I am doing wrong and what exactly they have noticed about me that I can work on. There is no player who is ignorant of his area of weakness, so the knowledge you get from this greats definitely helps."
During last edition, it was all about dedicating it to Sachin Tendulkar, who was making his last appearance and Shami feels that one should try and win it this time too as you never know as who will possibly play his last edition.
"Winning the World Cup in itself is a huge motivation for us. All eyes are on the World Cup and everyone has a lot of expectations from us. The focus is to win the Cup come what may," he said.
"The 2011 World Cup did have more craze since it was Sachin paaji's last World Cup and everyone in the team worked towards achieving that goal. We too are playing this World Cup in the same way. Who knows who would be missing from the next World Cup. We are playing the World Cup with the same kind of intensity."