CHENNAI: The TNCA league’s contribution to Indian cricket has been immense. From the likes of Salim Durani, Rahul Dravid to Hardik Pandya, many have benefitted from playing in the league.Shahbaz Nadeem, who is a regular in the TNCA Senior Division for the last few seasons, credits that experience as one of the reasons behind his India call-up for T20s against West Indies. With Kuldeep Yadav rested for Sunday’s final game, it will be a toss-up between him and local boy Washington Sundar for a place in the XI. “If I get an opportunity to play on Sunday, I will give my 100 per cent and prove my worth,’’ Nadeem told Express.
“The Chennai league experience has been wonderful and helped me evolve as a cricketer. It’s good to bowl in the conditions here. The grounds are well spread over the city and suburbs, the wickets and conditions vary from place to place. In all, it’s the ideal place to learn and sharpen your skills. The quality of the league is good and it tests your abilities as a bowler,’’ the left-arm spinner, who plays for Nelson CC in the TNCA league, said.
S Sriram, assistant coach of Delhi Daredevils, is all praise for the genial bowler who plays for his franchise. “He’s an intelligent bowler. Of late he has been bowling very well, in the IPL, for India A and in Vijay Hazare Trophy. He deserves his place in the team.”
Thanks to Kuldeep’s success, there is a tendency among bowlers to try new things, but Sriram advises Nadeem to stick to basics. “He’s an orthodox left-arm spinner who bowls a probing line and length. He has looked solid and consistent in the last few months. I don’t want him to try anything different. Just stick to basics and wear down the batsman with your guile,’’ opined the batting consultant of Australia.
Nadeem took a world record 8/10 against Rajasthan in a recent Vijay Hazare Trophy outing in Chennai. This effort captured the attention of the selectors and helped him get a berth in the Indian team.“It was one of the days I was bowling in good rhythm. Once I sensed that the wicket was aiding the spinners, I kept it tight and did not commit too many errors and thus got good purchase,’’ recalled the modest spinner.
Playing for Jharkhand, one cannot be far away from MS Dhoni’s influence. “Dhoni bhai has always been helpful to me. He has asked me to be more of a wicket-taking bowler than a defensive one. He suggested small changes in my bowling which have been very useful in reading the batsman’s mind. He also told me the importance of field setting,’’ said Nadeem.
Despite a good IPL, Ambati Rayudu failed the yo-yo test, so is it a problem for young cricketers? “I was not scared of the yo-yo test. Just got a feel of it and cleared it. There is nothing frightening about the test as it is made out to be,’’ observed the 29-year-old.In T20, bowlers sometimes have to be good at batting to be useful in close chases. “I am aware of the demands of T20. I have improved a lot as a batsman. So no worry on that count. If given a chance, I am confident of doing well. There is no pressure. The IPL exposure has made me mentally tough,’’ signed off Nadeem.