He might have cemented his place in the India team in less than a year's time, but Mohammed Shami is not flying high as the pacer, on Saturday, cherished returning to his roots and bowled to his Bengal teammates, boosting their morale ahead of their Ranji quarters against Railways.
"It feels great to be back with my team after a long time. Obviously, you will miss your home teammates when you play for the country," said Shami, who has played 20 ODIs after making his debut against Pakistan in January in 2013.
"Well, every sportsperson ulimately aspires to play for the country. I'm no different. I'm proud to be a part of the Indian dressing room," he added.
Shami had a dream Test debut of a 10-wicket match haul against the West Indies in November last year and has not looked back since then.
Flying to New Zealand on January 12, Shami will miss out on Bengal's knock-out leg beginning with the Railways match at the Eden Gardens from January 8-12 as he wished luck to Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Co.
"My best wishes for Bengal. The fact that they are in the quarters will make them confident. It's tough but definitely they have it in them to go all the way," Shami said.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly might have termed Shami as the biggest find of India cricket in 2013 but the pacer wants to focus on his game. Shami, who returned with nine wickets from three ODIs and six scalps from two Tests in South Africa, hoped to do well in the pace-friendly conditions of New Zealand.
"I've been to New Zealand before, and the conditions there are not very different from what we saw in South Africa. The only difference will be in the wind, which will be a factor in the Kiwi conditions. I'm preparing myself keeping that in mind," Shami said.
Shami found a bunny in Hashim Amla, dismissing the South African batting mainstay thrice in three ODIs, and twice in two Test matches and the pacer said his success rate in the just-concluded tour was 80 per cent.
"I don't think about the opposition, all are same. I just keep my focus on my bowling. At the same time, you've plans up your sleeve to a particular batsman. I'm happy with my performance in South Africa. Overall, I think I was 80 per cent successful."
Shami further said he was benifitted from seniormost Indian pacer Zaheer Khan's tips during the Test series. "There's always a lot to learn from an experienced bowler like Zaheer bhai (brother). He has pointed out a few things which I will keep in mind."