New Delhi: Going into the ‘A’ tour to South Africa, Shahbaz Nadeem wasn’t expecting much from the pace-friendly conditions in that country. The left-arm spinner only wanted to extract as much bounce from the wickets as possible and use it to his advantage. In fact, he was looking to adapt quickly to the unfamiliar pitches having grown up in a spin-friendly environment in India.
But the Jharkhand lad was in for a big surprise when he landed in the Rainbow Nation. The wickets had little pace and had no similarity with those he had played on while representing Delhi Daredevils in last year’s Champions League T20 tournament.
But keeping an open mind definitely helped as Nadeem emerged as the highest wicket-taker on the tour for India ‘A’. Nadeem said he kept things simple and with the wickets not providing any assistance, he preferred to play the waiting game. The end result was nine wickets in the tri-series, and eight more in the two unofficial Tests.
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'I don't think conditions will be the same'
“After taking a look at the type of wickets being dished out, I preferred to stick to the basics. I kept bowling stump-to-stump and waited for the batsmen to make mistakes. There was no point experimenting too much,” Nadeem told MAIL TODAY.
Even though he played an instrumental role in India ‘A’ doing well on the tour, Nadeem is far from satisfied.
He rues the fact that he didn’t manage to have a five-for in his seven matches.
“A five-for for a bowler is like a hundred for a batsman. There is always scope to improve one’s performance. The hungrier you are, the better it is for the team,” the 24-year-old said.
Nadeem is capitalising on the opportunities that young players are getting nowadays, thanks to BCCI’s initiative to organise as many matches as possible for age-group and ‘A’ teams.
“We are really fortunate to get so many matches at this level. First came the IPL where youngsters like us got the opportunity to showcase our talents and now with the A tours and also age-group tournaments, there is a platform for all of us to show that we have the potential to perform at the highest level. The more one plays, the better one gets,” he said.
While ‘A’ tours generally give future stars an opportunity, this Indian team was filled with international stars and Nadeem says that he loved sharing the dressing room with such experienced campaigners.
“Not often do we get the chance to be in the same dressing room as established players and I tried to learn as much as I could from the likes of Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma. There can be nothing better than picking the brains of people who know what it takes to excel at the highest level,” he said.
Nadeem was the highest wicket-taker among spinners in the last Ranji season — picking 42 wickets for Jharkhand – and he wants to improve further.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.