CRICKET Shahbaz Nadeem has been the find of IPL V’s bowlers. Y.B. SARANGI
The young Jharkhand left-arm spinner has banked on his guile to make a mark in his second season for Delhi Daredevils. Before April 5, he was as unknown as any other young cricketer trying to hog the limelight. In every match, he showed his utility as a bowler who could check the flow of runs in the middle overs. When used as a surprise weapon to open the bowling, he proved his worth by claiming important wickets.
The Daredevils think-tank found Nadeem so efficient that they pushed their No. 1 spinner Roelof van der Merwe of South Africa to the sidelines. That allowed the team to have more depth in its batting. Eight wickets in nine matches may not be too many. But most of them are important breakthroughs. Besides, Nadeem’s economy rate of 6.48 makes him a captain’s delight. “If you are a good bowler, you can perform in all forms of the game,” said Nadeem, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday in August. “Take the examples of Shane Warne or my idol Daniel Vettori. They are successful in all three formats…T20 is 95 per cent mental. A bowler should be ready to get hit and fight back.” Till a month ago, few even knew that Nadeem captained the Jharkhand team in the Ranji Trophy last season. Now, every cricket lover is keen to know more about the new bowling sensation.
“It is a big platform for me. I am proud to play alongside Viru bhai (Virender Sehwag), Mahela (Jayawardene), (Kevin) Pietersen and Irfan (Pathan),” said Nadeem, who hails from Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The Daredevils team members also heap praise on the youngster. “I am a coach who looks at a guy’s eyes. He’s got fire in his eyes; he has self-belief and is a great person,” says Daredevils coach Eric Simons. English superstar Pietersen adds, “Nadeem has bowled beautiful left-arm spin. I am so happy that he has been around because he has helped the side a lot.”
Nadeem, who once played for India under-19 and was dropped from the Jharkhand team before coming back to lead the side, prefers to turn obstacles into stepping stones. “Once, I left Jharkhand with the hope of playing for Bengal. However, I struggled to get in. I think, that one season helped me a lot. I worked hard on my bowling and became a better bowler.”
The next goal for the B.A. final year Economics Honours student is to make the cut for the Indian team. “All my family members and friends have been very supportive all through my career. They are happy with my success. Now they encourage me to do even better and play for India. Because, playing for the country is the ultimate honour,” said Nadeem, who has shifted base to Kolkata to nurture his cricketing ambitions. Nadeem — who is deeply religious, believes in hard work and loves to spend time with his close friends — knows that success cannot sweep him off his feet. “My head is on my shoulders and I am rooted to the ground,” said Nadeem.
Popularity: 1% [?]