Dedicating his maiden call-up at the highest level to the ever strong support of his parents, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem said that he felt relieved seeing a wide smile and tears on his mother's face and proud in his father's eyes, when he got informed of being picked in India's T20I squad for the three-match series against the West Indies.
This is a great moment for Shahbaz, who made his first-class debut back in 2004 and kept telling himself to focus on his game, despite the pain of rejection time and again after every selection meeting.
Nadeem's been absolutely outstanding at the domestic as well as 'A' level for a while and he deserves to play for India, at some stage.
Speaking to Hindustan Times about the moment he got told of the best day of his career so far, Nadeem said, “The smile on my mother’s face was my biggest reward when I got the India call-up. While my father has always been very understanding and knows that there is a stiff competition for places in the national team, my mother would sometimes lose her composure and I had to make her understand that there are only 15 or 16 slots available and all the people in the team are proven performers."
"But you know how mothers are (smiles)," he heartwarmingly said, "My father would sometimes join me to make her understand that a lot of factors need to combine for a person to go ahead and play for the country," and added, "To be fair, every child who starts playing the game wishes to represent India. But, only some manage to fulfill their dream,”
Nadeem is aware, this is not a destination but the beginning and says that while the job remains to try and out-fox the batsman, the task just gets more difficult from now onwards.
“See, I am not the first one to get an India call-up in the last couple of years. The selectors have ensured that every player who has performed at the domestic level has been given his fair opportunity," he said, "The real struggle starts now and when handed the chance, I have to perform well and cement my place in the team," and affirmed, "There is not a minute to lose and I need to be ready to get onto the field and perform whenever given that opportunity by the captain and team management,”
Nadeem, 29, is a temperamentally strong person as well and feels, “Why should I feel frustrated? If every domestic performer has been given his opportunity, why would the selectors not hand me my chance? I knew that it was about waiting for the opportune moment and performing every time I stepped onto the field," he reflected, "When I started playing for the first time, did I know that I would come so far? I started because I loved playing the game, so even now, the idea is to enjoy myself,” and signed off.