Finger spinners still have a lot to offer, says Shahbaz Nadeem

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Finger spinners still have a lot to offer, says Shahbaz Nadeem

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SportsCafe Desk


Shahbaz Nadeem has stated that finger spinners still have a lot to offer and should not be written off, especially if they continue taking wickets. The left-arm spinner, who is a consistent performer in domestic cricket, also expressed his desire to represent India at the international level.

In this era of T20s and cash-rich leagues, wrist spinners are all the rage. Gone are the days when Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the regulars in India’s limited overs setup. The duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have taken up the mantle of India’s spin bowling. Jharkhand spinner Shahbaz Nadeem feels that the consistent success of wrist spinners like Kuldeep Yadav and Rashid Khan, among others, in franchise cricket, and at the international level, has made it all the more difficult for finger spinners to get a chance to show their skills at the highest level.

“[There is more demand for wrist spinners] because of the way they have performing in matches. But even finger spinners still have a lot to offer. If they’re picking up wickets regularly, I don’t see why they shouldn’t get a chance,” said Shahbaz Nadeem.

Shahbaz Nadeem, who earlier played for Bihar, has been a consistent performer on the domestic circuit for a while now. In his List A career, he has taken 143 wickets in 98 matches and also performed exceptionally well in the first-class cricket since his debut in 2004, he has over 400 wickets to his name in 106 matches. In his initial years, he was even termed as the next big thing in Indian cricket but failed to make a mark at the highest level as he was ignored by the selectors.

However, in a Vijay Hazare Trophy match against Chennai, the 29-year-old once again knocked at the selector’s door, as he scalped eight wickets, including a hat-trick, and only gave away 10 runs. Consequently, he secured a place in the T20 series against West Indies at home last year and even broke a two-decade-old List A record in the process. However, he was left disappointed as he failed to get a place in the playing XI in that series. It was in these testing times when his father’s words would reverberate in his mind.

“If it’s written in your destiny, then you will play someday for India,” he had said.

“Maybe luck wasn’t on my side. It is everybody’s dream to play for the country but only a few get the opportunity. But you can only keep performing. The most important thing [I learnt] is your mindset because it’s so easy to get frustrated. I got to learn [over the years] that what is in my hand, I should do that rather than worry about things that are not in my control. I just want to do my job and keep taking more wickets,” Nadeem added.

Shahbaz Nadeem has played 61 matches for Delhi Daredevils, now Delhi Capitals, in the Indian Premier League, since his debut in 2011. He was snapped up by the same team for 3.20 crores in the 2018 auction. However, he was traded to Sunrisers Hyderabad this year and is yet to make a debut for them. The left arm spinner is confident of putting a good performance in the cash-rich league as he has added a few more variations like the carrom ball in his arsenal. After having tweaked his game to meet the demands of the T20 format, he will be hoping to get a chance in the bowling heavy side, which possesses proven spinners like Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan.

“The approach is quite different [when switching from red to white ball cricket]. Domestic cricket is more about consistency. Consistency is important in every format but you need to be more patient in domestic cricket. While playing limited-overs, you need to mix up things and bring about more variations because the batsmen are more likely to go after you. So it’s easier to get wickets if you plan accordingly,” signed off the former Jharkhand captain.

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