Arzan Nagwaswalla, who on Friday was named in India’s tour of England as a reserve player, expressed that the national call-up came to him as a shock and revealed that it took him a long while to come to his senses. Nagwaswalla added that being a left-armer gives him an edge over his compatriots.
On Friday, the BCCI named a 20-man squad for the World Test Championship Final and the England tour, and the list also included a handful of reserves. What no one saw coming, though, was the name of Arzan Nagwaswalla being on the list. A left-armer from Gujarat renowned for his ability to swing the ball, Nagwaswalla has an incredible first-class record - 62 wickets @ 22.53 - but no one quite expected the youngster to jump the queue and join up with the national team as early as next month.
Nagwaswalla enjoyed a stellar Ranji season in 2019/20 - 41 wickets @ 18.36 - but the youngster, nevertheless, became the talk of the town on Friday for catapulting into the Indian side seemingly out of nowhere.
And in his own words, his selection came as a shock not just to the world, but also to himself. Speaking to IANS, the 23-year-old revealed that the news of the call-up left him speechless, and expressed that, upon hearing the news, he just could not control his emotions.
"I called up mom and dad the first thing after I came to senses. I was so excited. I couldn't have stopped on the road because Covid-19 protocols don't allow you to step out of the car," Nagwaswalla told IANS.
"I was exhausted. By the end of it, I was so tired that I could barely pick calls and talk. I did not expect the call. Everyone has confidence that I would get through one day or the other. I also had that confidence. [But] this was very unexpected and surprising.”
It is uncommon for young Indian bowlers without pace to be fast-tracked into the national side as a reserve, but Nagwaswalla believes that being a left-arm seamer gave him an edge. The 23-year-old described himself as a swing bowler, and insisted that two factors - being a left-armer and being young - might have tempted the selectors to take him to England.
"Yes, I am a swing bowler. My speed is 130-135, but I try to swing the ball," Nagwaswalla said of his style.
"Maybe because I am a left-arm fast bowler [I was picked]. I am young. That is the only thing. Also, my last season went well.”
The 23-year-old did not get picked in the IPL, but he did, however, still garner invaluable experience by serving as a net bowler for Mumbai Indians. Being a net bowler for Mumbai Indians gave Nagwaswalla the golden opportunity to work with one of his idols, Zaheer Khan, and the youngster termed working with Zaheer and being a part of the MI bubble in IPL 2021 as a ‘great experience’.
"It was a great experience. I got an opportunity to bowl to some good batsmen. I spoke to Zaheer [Khan] sir. If I would have remained at home, nothing would have happened because of the lockdown. So, it was great that I could practice and kept doing training.
"He (Zaheer) didn't do much on the bowling aspect. He said it is fine. He said that if you train well, you will see more benefit in your bowling. He asked me to train well. He told me certain technical things," said Nagwaswalla.
"I was left-handed. That was my advantage. We didn't have too many left-armers in our district or even state level. I used to watch Zaheer and I got interested in bowling fast.”