India pacer Mohammed Shami who will turn up for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020, starting from September 19 in UAE turned emotional while speaking about his daughter Aira, who stays with his estranged wife Hasin Jahan.
Shami said he misses his daughter a lot, whom he hasn’t met for some time due to the lockdown.
“I could not meet her during the lockdown. She is growing up fast. I miss her a lot,” Shami told PTI.
Shami was training at his farmhouse during the lockdown and after a practice match on Thursday, he feels everyone is regaining their rhythm.
“It’s been a long time since we played cricket. Everyone is happy like kids in a candy store after getting back to the sport they love the most. We had a practice match on Thursday, I didn’t face any issues. Everyone is getting back to the rhythm. I didn’t feel much difference (as I was bowling at my farmhouse),” Shami added.
Shami who had been rather subdued between 2013 and 2018 IPL, had an exceptional season in 2019, picking up 19 wickets at an average of 24.68. Shami has a total of 40 wickets in IPL — the most in the current KXIP squad.
Shami further remembered the lockdown months, serving the poor migrants near his house in Sahaspur, Uttar Pradesh by setting up food distribution centres with the help of his friend Umesh.
“For me, it never felt like a lockdown; it just flew away. We were busy since morning arranging food, running six kitchens and in the evening I was back at practice. I am really thankful to the administration and people who helped us,” he said.
The right-arm seamer admitted that he will miss playing in front of big crowds but also added that it is the responsibility of cricketers like him to bring the smiles back in these tough times.
“It feels great when people cheer us from the stadium, but in the current scenario when that is not possible, it’s our responsibility to cheer them up, people who are battling a difficult time.
“We can at least do that to our fans. For one season, we can play without the crowd, I don’t think there would be an issue,” Shami added.
KXIP begin their IPL 2020 campaign against Delhi Capitals on September 20 in Dubai.
(With PTI inputs)