The Titan, who embodies persistence and commitment, Mohammad Shami honoured with the Arjuna Award for his contribution to cricket in 2023
He can make the ball seam, swing, skid and talk at will. And when he weaves his artistry at the highest level – leaving the batters in disarray – it’s a sight to behold. Mohammad Shami is not your regular superstar. He’s a picture of unwavering spirit and commitment. Something that’s kept him relevant on the international stage for over a decade. And it is only fitting that our Titan is being honoured with the Arjuna Award for his contribution to the gentlemen’s game in the year gone by.
It’s been a year to remember for Shami. Be it the Indian Premier League, where he spearheaded our attack and took home the Purple Cap, or the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, where he finished as the highest wicket-taker in the competition, the 33-year-old was in the form of his life.
However, Shami's journey to the top was never easy. The speed gun has come through testing times with his sheer hunger to succeed. Born in Sahaspur in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, it was Shami’s dad’s love for the sport that pushed him to chase the big dream. A farmer by profession, Shami’s father, Tauseef Ahmed, would cycle around 30 km daily to ensure his son got the right cricket education in a nearby town.
Though the youngster had enough talent, opportunities were sparse, a reason why Shami chose to move to Kolkata soon after. In the City of Joy, it was all about biding his time in the local circuit. At the Dalhousie Athletic Club, a young Shami honed his skills under his first mentor Badruddin Siddique.
Shami’s rise was so quick that by 2013 he had made his international debut and soon went on to play crucial roles in India’s campaigns in the 2015 World Cup and the 2017 Champions Trophy.
A part of the GT success story since Day 1, Shami is a vital cog in the Titans’ setup and is the cornerstone of our bowling unit. With a 20-wicket season in our title-winning campaign followed by 23 wickets last year, Shami has never disappointed. With IPL 2024 around the corner, the Indian pace machine will be eager to make the opposition dance to his tunes yet again.