Virat Kohli world's best captain: Shahbaz Nadeem
- Left-arm spinner Nadeem took four wickets in his Test debut
- After Kuldeep Yadav picked up an injury, the 30-year-old Nadeem was called up ahead of the third Test against SA
- Calling Kohli "a born leader", Nadeem said the skipper keeps the atmosphere alive both on the field and in the dressing room
NEW DELHI: After waiting for years to make his international debut, spinner Shahbaz Nadeem finally got the chance in the second Test vs South Africa in Ranchi. The Jharkhand tweaker got his maiden international call-up, packed his bags and covered the distance from Kolkata to Ranchi by road, all within a span of 24 hours. The sudden call-up and hectic travel schedule, though, was completely worthwhile. And his dream came true when he got his debut cap from captain Virat Kohli ahead of the third Test.
Justifying his selection as a substitute player, after Kuldeep Yadav picked up an injury, the 30-year-old Nadeem took four wickets in his maiden outing and held the coveted victorious trophy with the team after an emphatic 3-0 whitewash of the Proteas.
“Virat (Kohli) is an amazing captain. I must say he is the best captain in the world. He leads by example. I am happy that I took four wickets in the match. I have played a lot of domestic matches and have a lot of experience. I want to use all of that experience in my international career. I am happy with my debut,” Nadeem told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
Nadeem dismissed Temba Bavuma and Anrich Nortje in South Africa's first innings and then removed Theunis de Bruyn and Lungi Ngidi in the second innings.
“Both of us (Kohli and I) were discussing wickets and different situations during the match. Our plans worked really well against South Africa. This Indian team is the best in the world,” Nadeem said.
“Virat is a born leader. Not just on the field, (but) he also keeps the dressing room atmosphere alive. He helps every bowler on the field. With his aggression and batting prowess, he has taken Indian cricket to another level. I want to thank him for showing confidence in me,” the left-arm spinner said.
After India won the series, Nadeem was seen holding the winning trophy.
“When Virat was given the winners trophy, he, along with all the team members, asked me to hold the trophy,” the 30-year-old said.
Nadeem also revealed what Head Coach Ravi Shastri told him after his four-wicket match-haul in Ranchi.
“Shastri sir told me, ‘you have done a brilliant job’. He wished me luck and said 'continue to perform the way you did’.”
Nadeem also heaped praise on Rohit Sharma who finished the three-match Test series against South Africa as the highest run-getter. Rohit, who is relishing his new role as Test opener, scored 529 runs in three matches (four innings) at a mind-boggling average of 132.25.
"Rohit has always been a great batsman. If you see his record, especially in the last five years, it shows how classy a player he is. He knows how to answer his critics with his bat. We all know his records in limited-overs cricket. When he got the chance in Tests, he made every moment count. He is phenomenal,” Nadeem signed off.