Indian spinner Shahbaz Nadeem lived the dream of many cricketers as he made his Test debut recently in his hometown of Ranchi. He was drafted in the squad for the third test against South Africa after another left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was ruled out due to a shoulder injury. Nadeem picked up four wickets as India recorded an innings and 202-run victory over South Africa.
Nadeem was in Kolkata when he received the news about his Test call up. After he had offered his prayers, Nadeem checked his phone only to know that he had about 24 hours to pack his bags and reach Ranchi. With all flights booked, he took the road to reach his hometown to fulfill his long-cherished dream.
Brought in initially as a backup spinner, Nadeem revealed in an interview with a leading media daily that he did not know about making his debut and it was captain Virat Kohli who broke the news to him a day before the Test match. He further added that it was a dream come true for him to play for India and he’ll always cherish the moment when Kohli handed him his Test cap. He said that his long journey and hard work had paid off.
To add to his delight, former India captain MS Dhoni visited the Indian team after they wrapped up the match on Day 4. Dhoni, who also hails from Jharkand, caught up with former teammate Nadeem and the two were pictured having a chat. BCCI even tweeted the picture on its official handle.
Shahbaz Nadeem and MS Dhoni have played together many times for Jharkhand. Nadeem said that he wanted Dhoni’s opinion on his performance in the match. Dhoni said that his bowling has matured with his immense domestic experience. Nadeem said that Dhoni asked him not to experiment too much and keep bowling the way he did. He further added that they also talked about their respective journeys.
Shahbaz Nadeem made his first-class debut in 2004 against Kerala in Jamshedpur. Since then, Nadeem has picked 428 wickets in 111 first-class games. He has also taken 145 wickets in 106 List-A games for Jharkhand. When asked if MS Dhoni had not retired and played the game in Ranchi, Shahbaz said that his happiness would have been doubled if he had the opportunity to play with his former Jharkhand player in India’s whites. He said that Dhoni, who retired from Tests in 2014, is modest despite being in the league of the greats.