3rd Test: Shahbaz Nadeem's Test debut at home is a sweet one
Ranchi: Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem said that it would be a 'dream debut' for any cricketer who does it on his home ground. Nadeem's dream of playing for India was fulfilled on Saturday when he made his international debut in the third Test against South Africa here. And yesterday he made it a debut worth remembering as he finished with figures of 2-22 in South Africa's first innings at the JSCA Stadium.
Speaking at the post-match presser, Nadeem, 30, said: "It is a good thing that as a cricketer you are making a debut and that too in your home ground. I would say it can be a dream debut for any player who does it in his home town." India's pace prowess came to the fore yet again as Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav bossed over a fragile South African batting line-up to put the hosts on the cusp of a 3-0 whitewash.
As many as 16 South African wickets fell on Day Three with Shami and Umesh doing the bulk of the damage. The duo bowled with fiery pace and were also rewarded for consistently attacking the stumps. Staring at another massive defeat, South Africa were 132 for eight in their second innings at stumps with India needing to turn up on day four to complete formalities.
At close of play, Dean Elgar's concussion substitute Theunis de Bruyn was batting on 30 with Anrich Nortje (5) for company. Nadeem was drafted into the squad for the third Test after Kuldeep Yadav suffered a shoulder injury. "I was excited, and a bit emotional too, but then I concentrated on what I had to do in the game. I was nervous for the first three balls, especially during my run-up. My nerves settled during the fourth ball," said the late-bloomer, who got his maiden Test call up after 15 years and 110 first-class matches since he made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2004-05.
"When you have played cricket for so many years, you're ready to play 6am in the morning after getting a 4am call. It was around 2.30pm on Friday and I was observing Namaaz (prayer) when my phone kept ringing. I finished my prayer and saw that I was being called for the Test. I came by road from Kolkata," said Nadeem, who is now based in Kolkata.
"It's been a good journey, I had to work hard to reach here. As a cricketer you dream to come on TV after seeing many players. I also had dreamt that people should watch my performance on TV. It feels great," he said. Nadeem had his "big moment" when he foxed Temba Bavuma (32) for his first wicket in international cricket. "It was an ideal left-arm spinner delivery. It's not just IPL. We have a lot of India A matches which help you knowing the opponent players well. You know their strengths. Four-five players from this team played in the touring South Africa A series earlier.
"IPL is such a format where batsmen attack you. So it helps you in controlling your nerves better. So you when have already played at that stage, you don't feel new the feeling is kind of similar," said Nadeem.
India 497-7 decl v South Africa 162 and 132-8 (T de Bruyn batting 30, G Linde 27; Mohd Shami 3-10, U Yadav 2-35)
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