Not just entry into the record books, Mohammed Shami earned praises from the cricket pundits after India beat West Indies by an innings and 51 runs in the first Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Friday. (Read: Debutants Shami, Rohit win Dhoni's praise)
Son of the soil and former India skipper Sourav Ganguly was all praises for Shami as the local lad used reverse swing to floor the visitors in the first Test. Ganguly even compared Shami to the stalwart of reverse swing Waqar Younis.
"I have seen the best of Waqar Younis, and this reverse swing bowling from Shami is as good as anyone that I've seen," Ganguly said while doing commentary after the Bengal pacer ran through the West Indies middle order to hasten the visitor's demise. (Also see: Win at Eden, in pics)
Shami had two successful spells in the second innings with the older ball, reading figures of 7-0-18-2 and the final one that won the match read 3.1-0-8-3.
Shami, who foxed the Australians in the rain-marred Ranchi ODI recently with his pace and movement, didn't look like a debutant to former India Test stalwart VVS Laxman.
"Shami hardly looked like someone who is inexperienced and is playing his first Test match. Very pleased with the way he bowled," Laxman told NDTV in an exclusive chat on Friday. (Watch full show here)
The 23-year-old Jonagar-born seam bowler took a record 9 wickets to become the most successful Indian pacer on Test debut. Narendra Hirwani's 16 for 136 against the West Indies in Chennai in 1988 is still the best show by any Indian debutant.
Ironically, it was a 'reversal' of fortunes when Ishant Sharma handed fellow-pacer Mohammed Shami his Test cap at Eden Gardens on Wednesday morning. Shami was replacing a 'senior' quickie whose form took a massive beating during the recent India versus Australia ODI series that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's boys won 3-2. Shami was at the fountainhead of India's decisive win in the final ODI at Bangalore.
Former Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar too praised Shami for his excellent swing bowling skills. "On an unresponsive pitch, the way Shami managed to get the out-swing going and the way he read the batsmen was a huge plus. He assessed a batsman's weakness and what the pitch had to offer and conquered all," Gavaskar told NDTV in a post-match chat.
Former India opener Arun Lal also lauded Shami's debut exploits by saying, "Shami had the quality pace to upstage batters and he bowled a good line and length."