Cricketer Mohammed Shami, the badshah of bowling, was born in Alinagar, a remote village in district Amroha, Western Uttar Pradesh (UP). One of the best fast bowlers of the moment, Shami and his brothers were introduced to cricket by their father Tauseef Ali, a farmer.

When he was only 15 years old Shami had attracted the attention of coach Badruddin Siddique in Moradabad. Siddique was fascinated by the miraculous movement of Shami’s wrist. He had immediately taken him under his care and prepared Shami for the under 19 trials in UP.

Siddique does not remember Shami ever taking a day off. The youngster had worked hard in Moradabad. Once matches were over, he would collect the used balls to practise the reverse swing, a skill that is the USP of his success today.

However, despite his diligence, he was not selected. He was asked to try again the following year. Siddique did not want Shami to wait for a year to play professionally.

Unappreciated in his home state of UP, Shami travelled to Kolkata in 2005 on Siddique’s advice. In Kolkata Shami went on to impress the former assistant secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal Debabrata Das. Shami joined Das’s Town Club.

Das also invited Shami to live with him in his home in Kolkata. His brilliant bowling skills later got Sambaran Banerjee to select him for the Bengal under-22 team.

There has been no looking back since then. After playing for the Dalhousie Athletic Club, he was recommended to the Mohun Bagan Cricket Club. He found the opportunity to bowl to former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly in the Eden Gardens and who recommended him for the 2010-11 Ranji Trophy.

It was at Eden Gardens that Shami made his first-class, and Test match debut and Kolkata Knight Riders signed Shami for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise in 2011.

Das recalls that Shami never wanted money. His goal was the stumps, the sound that comes from hitting the stumps. “Ever since I saw him, most of his wickets were bowled. He bowls with an upright seam, on or just outside off stump, and gets it to cut back in”, Das said.

Shami is what he is today because West Bengal welcomed the cricketer, and provided him with every possible opportunity to sculpt his talent. It is the hospitality and mentoring that Shami received in Kolkata that has led to him eventually emerging as the uncrowned Badshah of Bowling of his time.

Joy Of Cricket

The joy of cricket that Shami exudes is infectious. Today Shami has millions of fans but his greatest fan remains his mother Anjum Ara. Shami’s mother has been so joyously nervous in recent days that on the eve of the World Cup final tournament played last Sunday, she fell ill and was rushed to a hospital.

Shami was in Ahmedabad at that time and despite concerns for his mother’s health continued to play his game. What kept him focused on his game was a message from Ara, wishing Shami best of luck and sending prayers for the entire team. It is her dream to see India win the World Cup.

The win did not happen as India faced a six wicket loss against Australia. However, as soon as he could, Shami took to social media to post a photograph with his mother accompanied by a heartfelt message that said, “You mean so much to me Mum. Hope you’re feeling better soon”.

Stadium And Gym

Watching Shami become a worldwide wonder, the UP government stepped forth to announce the construction of a cricket stadium, and a gym in Shami’s village.

The decision to do so came after Shami’s mind blowing performance in the Cricket World Cup tournament. His seven-wicket haul in the match against New Zealand had helped India to make it to the finals. Shami is today the fastest Indian bowler to clinch 50 wickets in cricket history in the World Cup tournament.

The District Magistrate in Amroha Rajesh Kumar Tyagi said that a proposal has been made to construct a mini-stadium and an open gym in the village of Sahaspur Alinagar of Mohammed Shami.

“This is Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s gift to Shami, who performed brilliantly in the World Cup,” Tyagi said. He had recently led a team of officials to Sahaspur Alinagar to look for land for the construction of the mini-stadium and open gym.

Unhappy Over Halal

However, the UP government is unhappy over halal certification issued by third-party bodies. Last Saturday, the government said that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the sole authority to issue certificates for edible products.

The following Sunday the Lucknow police had booked four organisations, including Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust, New Delhi, as well as some unidentified people for alleged fraud, extortion, promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion, and funding different ‘anti-national, separatist and terror organisations’.

The UP government has put a ban on the sale of ‘halal’-certified products and prohibited the manufacturing, storage, distribution of halal-certified products.

The ban is a sequel to an FIR registered at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station against four organisations, production companies, their owners and managers as well as other unidentified people for allegedly “unnecessarily extorting money in the name of halal certification and promoting enmity in the name of religion and also funding different anti-national, separatist and terror organisations.”

The government said that products like dairy items, sugar, bakery products, peppermint oil, salty ready-to-eat beverages, and edible oils are being labelled with a halal certification. Certain medicines, medical devices, and cosmetic products are reported to feature the halal certificate on packaging or labelling as well.

Following that information, a case has been registered against certain companies and organisations for allegedly issuing ‘forged halal certificates’ to boost sales. Those against halal-certification allege that the business interest of other communities was hurt due to ‘illegal’ certification.

The opposition Congress Party slammed the government for creating a divide between communities to divert attention from real issues like poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in UP.

“The government is preoccupied with dividing people to create differences amongst them,” UP Congress chief Ajay Rai told the media.