The first step towards making a comeback is rehabilitation at the Shri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Centre (SRMC) in Chennai. © Getty Images

The first step towards making a comeback is rehabilitation at the Shri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Centre (SRMC) in Chennai. © Getty Images

One of the key cogs of India’s campaign at the 2015 World Cup, Mohammad Shami has had a rollercoaster ride in the last six months.

He picked up 17 scalps in seven matches at an average of 17.29, but then a knee injury that necessitated surgery kept him out of most of IPL 2015. “We came back from the World Cup and during the IPL I was told that the injury was really bad and that I will have to get it operated,” Shami told BCCI.TV on Sunday (August 9).

“The surgery happened in Mumbai and I was told I will not be able to walk for a month. I was completely bed-ridden. Even when I had to go to the bathroom, someone had to take me there because I couldn’t put the foot on the ground. That was a very tough time for me.

“As a sportsperson, it is very difficult to sit at one place. It is not easy to accept that your body is not capable of simple movements. This was my first major injury and that one month was the most difficult period of my career so far,” recalled Shami.

Nonetheless, that period has passed and Shami has begun his bid to make his way back to the national side. The first step is rehabilitation at the Shri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Centre (SRMC) in Chennai.

“Currently I am going through my rehab in Chennai. I am working with Sud (VP Sudarsan, Team India’s former strength and conditioning coach) and Yogesh Parmar (Team India’s former physiotherapist),” he said. “It is an advantage for me to have these guys because they have worked with me before and they know my body well. They know how much stress my body can take and what my strength capacity is.

Shami is taking things one at a time, but has started bowling a few overs to get back into the groove. “I am doing mild physical activities now,” he explained. “I have started to run a bit and my confidence is getting higher gradually.

“I have also started to bowl a bit – not off my full run-up but from a couple of paces. Just to get that feel of delivering the cricket ball again, rolling my arm, feels good. I am bowling two-three overs at a stretch currently just to get the feel of my line, length and release. I can also lift light weights now and we are gradually increasing the intensity.”

Coming out of injury is dicey if the body isn’t ready for a full-fledged workout. Shami, hence, wants to ensure his fitness is right up there before making the transition. His goal: to make the team for the South Africa series that comprises of three Twenty20 Internationals, five One-Day Internationals and four Test matches in October.

“I will spend 15 days here in Chennai and then go to Bangalore at the NCA, where I can start bowling in the nets and work on my bowling skills,” he said. “I want to be completely fit physically before I go for my first net session, even if it takes a week more. It will all depend on how much strength I get in the next 15 days.

“It will take about 30 to 45 more days before I can bowl at my full pace and strength. But I don’t want to hurry into anything because I still have time on my hand before the South Africa series starts. I am confident that I will be fit in time for that series. My target is to make a comeback in that series.”