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Spinner Shahbaz Nadeem eager to don the National jersey again

He feels bowling to stalwarts like Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson and opener David Warner in the nets is making him stronger
Shahbaz Nadeem

Sayak Banerjee   |   Calcutta   |   Published 06.09.20, 05:05 AM

Shahbaz Nadeem had to wait for almost 15 years after his first-class debut in 2004 for his maiden India Cap. With his international career restricted to just one Test so far, Nadeem hopes it wouldn’t be a long wait before he can make his way back into the Indian team. And for that, he says, a successful IPL is crucial.

So eager is the left-arm orthodox spinner to play more international matches that even at 31 years of age, he is ready to grind it out further rather than complaining.

Koi shikaayat ya disappointment nahi hai (There’s no complaint or disappointment), because when you have taken almost 450 wickets (443 precisely) in first-class cricket, you know you have done something. But my main target is to play more for my country and prolong my career. Performing at the highest level is my goal.

“Maybe this IPL will help me achieve my goal and help me get back to the India squad,” Nadeem, who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad, told The Telegraph from Dubai.

Last October, when a shoulder injury ruled Kuldeep Yadav out of the third and final Test of the series versus South Africa, Nadeem made his international debut, in Ranchi, and took four wickets as well. He got just three matches in the last IPL, but expects more chances this time.

“Look, my selection in the Sunrisers XI depends on team combination. But I am optimistic of getting more chances this year because, apart from playing in the Test match, I have bowled well throughout last season and took wickets too. I’m a lot more confident now,” Nadeem, a resident of Ekbalpore, said.

Bowling to stalwarts like Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson and opener David Warner at nets will also make him sharper, he feels.

“It does help to improve as a bowler when you are bowling at these players because you know they are technically very correct and if you bowl a loose ball, they are not going to spare it.”

Life was full of worries for Nadeem five months ago owing to the lockdown with his wife too being unwell then. But the IPL comes as a “huge relief” to him, while the presence of his once-Calcutta

club cricket mates Wriddhiman Saha and Sreevats Goswami in the Sunrisers squad is also making him feel comfortable in the bio-secure bubble in the UAE.

“Where I am now, Sree is next to my room and Wriddhi is just downstairs. That helps, makes us feel at home,” Nadeem said.

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