What’s the story?
Jharkhand spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been repeatedly overlooked by the Indian selectors in spite of taking loads of wickets in the Indian domestic circuit. The slow left-arm spinner is still confident of making it to the national side and conceded that the current selection committee has assured him that he will be rewarded soon.
Since the appointment of the current selection panel, all the members including the chief selector MSK Prasad have been communicating with the spinner regularly, something that wasn’t the case earlier.
“I was very disappointed, to be honest, but ever since this selection panel took charge, I have started hoping again. All the members including MSK sir communicate regularly. It was not the case earlier. It is a very welcome change. With this approach, at least you know where you stand. They have told me that my time will come so I will just keep working hard,” Nadeem said.
In case you didn’t know...
Shahbaz Nadeem, who made his first-class debut at an age of 15, has been prolific in the domestic competitions for the last couple of seasons. Having picked up 51 wickets in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy, Nadeem went on to take 56 wickets in the 2016-17 season and became the first Indian bowler to pick 50 wickets in two consecutive Ranji seasons.
Extra cover: I am ready to play for India, says Shahbaz Nadeem
He also continued his good form in the 2017 Vijay Hazare trophy in which he picked up 15 wickets in 8 matches, the most for his team. He was picked in the India A side that faced England and Bangladesh and performed well in both the matches.
Heart of the matter
Nadeem was often criticised for using too many variations in his bowling and now, he has silenced the critics by being effective with the ball. He admitted that he didn't change much in the last two seasons but has matured a lot as a bowler and started to read the batsman’s mind better.
He still continues to use variations whenever he can but his motive is to give the ball more air and mix it with the odd faster one. He also lauded MS Dhoni for his constant inputs to him and his Jharkhand teammates.
“When players spend time with him (Dhoni), while it's travelling, dressing room or in the team hotel, it gives them a huge push. He is available 24/7. Anyone of us can go and talk to him anytime. I too talk to him about the game but I never talk to him about my chances of playing for India. He just says one thing that I must keep improving and leave the rest to the selectors. And that is what I try to do,” said Nadeem.
Nadeem has bowled really well in the domestic circuit for the last couple of seasons. There is no doubt in him being on the selectors’ radar for a while. With the likes of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Jayant Yadav being a part of the squad, it is difficult for Nadeem to get into the national team. If he keeps performing like this, Nadeem will get his India cap sooner than later.