India fast bowler Mohammed Shami has revealed how he thought of committing suicide while struggling with personal problems before making a spectacular comeback to the national side.
Shami battled weight issues, injury and a legal quarrel with his estranged wife before a stellar performance at the World Cup last year re-established the 29-year-old as a key player.
With cricket and sports halted in the coronavirus lockdown, Shami opened up about his own and his family’s fears to team-mate Rohit Sharma during an exchange on Instagram.
“I think if my family had not supported me back then I would have lost my cricket. I thought of committing suicide three times during that period due to severe stress,” said Shami.
“I was not thinking about cricket at all. We were living on the 24th floor. They were scared I might jump from the balcony.”
Shami’s contract with the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India was withheld in 2018 because of allegations of domestic violence, only to be reinstated later.
The bowler also struggled with injury that saw him spend nearly a year on the sidelines, leading to weight gain. He said his family and friends helped him bounce back.
“My two or three friends used to stay with me for 24 hours (during my days of depression). My parents asked me to focus on cricket to recover from that phase and not think about anything else,” he said.
“I started training then and sweated it out a lot at an academy in Dehradun.
“Then my family explained that every problem has a solution no matter how big the problem. My brother supported me a lot.”
A lean and hungry Shami made a strong comeback in the Indian team at the 50-over World Cup. He took 14 wickets in four games including a match-winning hat-trick.
Shami has claimed 180 wickets in 49 Tests and 144 scalps in 77 one-day internationals since making his debut for India in 2013.
Last year Shami led the pace pack in the absence of yorker king Jasprit Bumrah and claimed 13 wickets during India’s 3-0 home Test sweep of South Africa.
Skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on the fast bowler, saying, “he is someone who can change the complexion of the match totally when you don’t see it coming”.