HYDERABAD: Making the jump into the national team comes as the result of culmination of a bunch of things: consistent performances in first-class cricket to the timing of a good outing. Shahbaz Nadeem has been doing both for quite some time, but is yet to take the plunge.
After a string of impressive showings for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, the Jharkhand lad picked up more than fifty wickets in two consecutive Ranji Trophy seasons (51 in 2015-16 and 56 in 2016-17, the highest), only to still be left out.
Playing for India A against the visiting Bangladesh at the Gymkhana Grounds here, the southpaw was the most used bowler (16 overs) after they were put into field. Though he could scalp only a solitary batsman, it was the important breakthrough of Soumya Sarkar, who was scoring at a brisk pace.
Speaking exclusively to Express on Sunday, Nadeem was pragmatic yet determined about his targets. When asked about the nature of the pitch, he replied, “Even though it’s a slow and flat wicket, one can always get wickets if the stumps are aimed at. I gave away only 38 runs, so I bowled pretty well considering conditions,” said the left-arm orthodox spinner, who had a taste of the ground a couple of years back in a local tourney.
Still only 27, and with tons of first-class experience, the tweaker said he will continue to fight for that elusive national cap, and gave a zen-like response when asked as to why he has not been able to break in. “It depends on whether the place you’re fighting for is available. My job is to be consistent, and when I get my chance, to make the most of it.”
With one more warm-up match at home on the cards within the next ten days, that too against the visiting Australians, Nadeem seemed upbeat. “I’m looking forward to the warm-up game against the mighty Australians. I hope I can do well there too.”
The player, who grew up in Dhanbad, backed himself, and is confident he possesses the skills to make it bigger.
“I’m bowling well enough, and there’s no need to change my action. The rhythm is good, and body is nicely moving behind the ball, and the follow through is also good. If in the future I feel I’m not satisfied with my bowling, I’ll not shy away from making required changes,” he concluded.