Having been a proven performer at the domestic as well as the 'A' level, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem says that it is the ambition of one day wearing the Team India jersey that keeps him motivated.
Nadeem has an excellent brain on his shoulders and is pragmatic enough to understand that he has no choice but to keep performing every day and wait for that one long-awaited chance to play for the country.
By following up his exploits for Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy with 51 wickets in the 2015-16 season and 56 in the 2016-17, with all-conditions proving performances for India A, Nadeem has made his case as strong as one can.
It is simply a systematic narrative that India has arguably two of the best spinners in the country playing for Team India at the moment. While Ravichandran Ashwin is simply undroppable, Ravindra Jadeja is not only top-class but also fills in with left-arm variety.
Due to this, the likes of Jayant Yadav and even young Kuldeep Yadav have played Test cricket before him.
“Only thing I have to do is continue performing and keep taking wickets. That is what I have to concentrate on,” said Nadeem, who would've played Internationally for any other country by now.
“To play for India, just performing alone isn’t enough. You have to see whether the place you are fighting for is empty. There are many players who have taken dozens of wickets in domestic cricket but haven’t got a chance to play for the country. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen with me (laughs).” he added.
Good thing for him, as Nadeem says, is that selectors are constantly in touch with him and it really helps. “As a player, you know that they are looking at you. It keeps you motivated that you are being watched,” he said.
Nadeem has been featuring regularly in the Indian Premier League but he thinks, “Yes a good IPL can propel you into the national team. But in the IPL, I have just played 6-7 matches in the last couple of seasons.”
“However, the selectors have told me that they are looking at me for the longer version. So if I have to get a chance in Tests, I have to do well in all four-day matches so that’s my focus."
For now, though, Nadeem quite enjoys being part of the India A side.
"I got my first India A call-up in 2013 and I have been a regular for the last two years." he said, "But even now, whenever I play for India A, I am very excited because I know it is just a step away from the senior team. I have that pressure to perform so I don’t take it for granted.”
(Inputs from The Hindu)