Hamilton: Former Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed feels that Mohammed Shami is the best Indian paceman on view and his performance has been key to India's good show in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup.
Shami has been the pick of India's pace attack taking 9 wickets from three matches and his opening spell has proved to be crucial in India maintaining their stronghold in the group league stage.
"For me the best bowler in this Indian line-up is Mohammed Shami. He has every ingredient of a good fast bowler and is an asset to the Indian team. I am also impressed by young Mohit Sharma and believe that he would turn out to be a good weapon for India in future," Aaqib, who is currently the UAE coach, told PTI in an interaction.
Asked to elaborate on why he thinks Shami as the best, Aaqib, a key figure in Pakistan's victorious 1992 World Cup campaign said, "The first thing that one looks in a fast bowler is pace and Shami has the ability to work up brisk pace. Also what made the difference is the length that he has hit consistently in the past few games. Against Pakistan, his length and the channel at which he bowled has been exceptional."
"Australia is one country where you need a pace bowler to bend his back and hit the deck hard. Shami can hit the deck hard at the correct length. If he can continue this form in the knockout stages, India will be a difficult country to beat in this tournament," said Aaqib, who had 182 ODI wickets from 163 ODIs between 1989 and 1998.
Wasim Akram's former new ball partner then went on to explain why he has also grown a liking for the young Mohit Sharma, who has been the find of the season as far as Team India is concerned.
"Mohit has natural ability to surprise you which is a good weapon to have in any seamer's armoury. He doesn't look very quick from a distance but if one carefully analyses his bowling, he would suddenly increase his pace by at least 5 kmph which is very impressive."
"In between the steady deliveries, he would bowl that one 'heavy ball' that can surprise the best. It's like hitting 132-135 kmph and one delivery would suddenly hit 140 kmph," explained Aaqib.
But Aaqib is certainly not very impressed with Umesh Yadav as he feels that the Vidarbha pacer despite the speed he generates is a bit on the erratic side.
"Umesh has got the potential but he is very erratic. The pace at which he bowls, he needs to bowl on one side of the wicket. He can just spray it all over. He needs to maintain that one line at which he would bowl," said Aaqib.
Having seen the golden days of Pakistan cricket, it is but natural that Aaqib wasn't exactly happy in the manner that his country is performing at the World Cup.
"For winning a World Cup, one needs to do proper homework, which I have seen lacking in Pakistan. It's funny that what we used to do in our times and India didn't, that aspect of Indian cricket has changed. Now we don't do our homework and India does their bit," the 42-year-old lamented.
Aaqib feels that Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a leader, has been "inspirational" and "always looks in control of the situation."
"Dhoni earns tremendous respect from his teammates and that's what good leadership is all about," he concluded.