Shahbaz Nadeem’s USP has been his accuracy which frustrates batsmen and Sunrisers Hyderabad spin bowling mentor Muttiah Muralitharan wants the Jharkhand left-arm spinner to stick to his core skills.
An India A regular and one of the most successful bowlers in first-class cricket, Nadeem has had sporadic success at the IPL level, mostly during his time at the erstwhile Delhi Daredevils, where he was used as a restrictive option.
“Training under Murali has been great. I have picked up a couple of things under his guidance. I am implementing that in my bowling. He has asked me to stick to my stock ball (spinning away from right-handers) and not to vary much from it,” said Nadeem.
Whether its Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for India, Yasir Shah for Pakistan, Adil Rashid for England or Adam Zampa for Australia, wrist spinners have become the preferred choice in the shorter formats of the game everywhere.
But Nadeem thinks differently. For him, it is consistency that will prove to be decisive how far a player will progress.
“I think it doesn’t matter much if you are a finger spinner or wrist spinner, if you are consistent with your performance and are taking wickets you will eventually get a chance wherever you play. You just have to keep performing well,” Nadeem said.
Donning the orange and black colours of Sunrisers Hyderabad after a seven-year stint with the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), the left-arm spinner is high on confidence after a record-breaking domestic season and a maiden national call-up.
Nadeem had shattered the two-decade-old world record for best bowling figures in List A cricket scalping 8/10 against Rajasthan in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in September last year in Chennai. His figures reading 10-4-10-8.
Subsequently, the 29-year-old received a national call-up to the T20 side against West Indies at home. However, Nadeem failed to make it to the playing XI but the Jharkhand bowler has taken it in stride, concentrating on the positives.
“I was very happy just to be selected in the national side, it is a big thing for me. I was performing well at that time. If you don’t get a chance to play its okay, it motivates me to do even better and maybe next time I will get a game.”
He was happy that head coach Ravi Shastri, a left-arm spinner himself, took personal interest in his bowling and also gave him a few suggestions.
“The experience in Indian camp was very good. Ravi Shastri was interested in my bowling. He told me what to do and what not to do. That helped me. The selectors are also in touch with me. I know the focus is on the World Cup but if I keep performing constantly I will get more chances.”
In the IPL, SRH boast of a strong bowling line up including Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and Nadeem will have to fight for a spot in the team.
“Rashid Khan is the main guy, we have to support him. My role has been defined. Haven’t put a number on how many matches I will get but have been conveyed my role,” Nadeem said.