Versatility the key for Shahbaz

The left-arm spinner looks forward to the bouncy South African wickets on the upcoming India 'A' tour.


While Delhi Daredevils had a forgettable run in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Shahbaz Nadeem stood out with his lionhearted performance.

Continuing from his consistent showing in the Ranji season for Jharkhand where he scalped 42 wickets – the highest among spinners and the fourth overall — he scalped nine wickets from 12 matches. But more than the wickets, it was the effort he put in and the heart he showed that caught the eye.

Now, the lanky spinner has been rewarded with a spot in the India A team for the tour of South Africa for a tri- series — involving Australia A — and two four- day games.

While players prefer getting opportunities on conditions suited to their style, Nadeem feels it is all about being versatile and adapting to the situations.

"I agree that wickets in South Africa won’t be conducive to spin bowling, but they will definitely provide more bounce than some of the Indian wickets.

So one needs to be versatile and adapt accordingly. If I can maintain a good line and length and not experiment too much, I don’t see any reason why I can’t be successful there. You have to utilise every condition to the best of your ability,” Nadeem told MAIL TODAY. Moreover, it is important to rise to different challenges if you want to prove that you are good enough to play for India.

You need to have qualities that make you stand out and succeed in any condition.” Nadeem has already played in South Africa and asked about his plans going into the series, he said: "Performance can’t always be judged by looking at the scorecard.

"There are times when you pick wickets because you are lucky and then there are days when even good balls are dispatched to the boundary. So I will be happy if I can say at the end of the tour that I gave it my best shot.” While there is no denying that IPL has helped him get into the spotlight, Nadeem believes that performing on the Ranji circuit is just as important.

"I had done well in IPL- 5 as well, but my performance wasn’t top- notch in the Ranji Trophy.

As a result, I wasn’t in the minds of the selectors. But this year, I performed well in both Ranji Trophy as well as IPL. One can’t get selected by performing only in the T20 league.

"No doubt you get instant recognition, but you need to prove your metal over a period of time,” the 23- year- old said.

And the left- arm spinner feels that with the BCCI doing away with the Elite and Plate divide and bringing in three groups (A, B and C) in the Ranji Trophy, players from every team have a chance to impress.

"Earlier, teams in the Plate Division didn’t get much opportunity to play against top cricketers. But now with the Board doing away with the divide and bringing in three groups, things have definitely changed.

"I feel more and more players, including me, will get an opportunity to play against the best cricketers in the country which will help us improve our game further and hopefully break into the national team soon, a dream for all the youngsters who play the game,” he signed off.