It was a tough choice for Mohammed Shami to play the role of a cricketer in the day and be a father at night. The Indian bowler who claimed six wickets in the second Test match against New Zealand at Eden Gardens in Kolkata to give his country a mammoth 178-run victory was perhaps a worried man all throughout as his daughter was recuperating in an ICU.
Thanks to his stunning spell on Monday, India were able to clinch the series in four days and also reclaimed the number one Test ranking but little did people know that Shami put on an excellent bowling display despite being under immense stress.
His 14-month-old daughter was in the Intensive Care Unit of a Kolkata hospital, Times of India reported. But Shami's focus and commitment did not waver.
Aira, his baby daughter was admitted on the second day of the Test due to high fever. Soon, she was moved to the ICU as she was unable to breathe properly. Shami was informed of this news at the end of the day's play on Saturday.
Despite the tense situation, the pacer quickly removed the Black Caps' tail-enders on the third day, helping India to a massive 112-run lead. Every day at end of play, he would visit his daughter in the hospital before returning to the team hotel.
On the fourth and final day, Shami took three more wickets, taking his total tally to six. He picked up the wickets of Mitchell Santner and BJ Watling with two reverse swinging deliveries, and then off his first ball in the 19th over, he ended Trent Boult's 21-run stand to script a famous victory for India in their 250th Test match at home. The 25,000-strong crowd at Eden Gardens rose in standing ovation, as Shami stretched his arms in joy and celebrated with his teammates. Later on, it was reported that his daughter had been discharged from the hospital on the same day and was recovering well.
"My captain had given me huge inspiration every night after I returned from the hospital. So, I am extremely thankful to him and also thankful to the mates who also gave me belief that my daughter must get cured by the time Test ends," Shami reportedly told Indiatimes.
TV commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said during the match, "We are delighted to have watched Shami for his excellent bowling in spite of the fact that he was going through hard times due to his daughter’s illness."
Former cricketer Aakash Sharma also tweeted his admiration for Shami's effort.
Daughter in the ICU but still running in hard and handing India a victory. Respect your courage @MdShami11 Hope the little one is better now
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) October 5, 2016