I was nervous for the first three balls: Shahbaz Nadeem on his debut in Ranchi Test


India off-spinner Shahbaz Nadeem feels good that he is finally being rewarded for all the hard work that he has put in domestic cricket as he grabbed his maiden Test wicket on Day 3 of the Ranchi Test on Monday.

Temba Bavuma became Nadeem’s maiden Test wicket and he later removed Anrich Nortje in South Africa’s first innings as India bowled them out for 162 and then asked Faf du Plessis’s team to follow-on for the second time in a row in this series.

The Proteas were reduced to 132 for 8 by the end of play, with another 203 runs to go. Nadeem also ran out George Linde with a direct hit in South Africa’s second innings to make matters worse for the visitors.

After the day’s play, Nadeem spoke to Murali Kartik and described his emotions as he came on to bowl for the first time in Test cricket and that too on his home ground.

Nadeem made his first-class debut in 2004, well before any of the current members in the Indian team, but only got the opportunity to showcase his talent for India in this Test. He came in as a replacement for the injured Kuldeep Yadav just before this game and grabbed the chance with both hands.

“It feels good to be rewarded for all the years of hard work, and getting to make my debut on my home ground was the most special feeling. (Getting the cap) It has a different value, that too on the home ground. 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,” Nadeem said.

The 30-year-old local boy also spoke about how he is learning the tricks of the trade from teammates R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who he rated as the best spin-bowling duo in the world.

“As a left-arm spinner, to get a batsman (Bavuma) stumped is one of the best wickets to get. (On Ashwin and Jadeja) It’s fun when you are bowling alongside such seasoned campaigners. They can share their experiences, and what to do, and what not do.

“They are probably two of the best spinners in the world, and there’s so much to learn from everything they do,” Nadeem said.

Nadeem, who has 424 first-class wickets with an economy of 2.69, also said he has worked on his bowling. “Basically I have worked on my follow through to ensure my body weight goes through at the time of release,” he said.

The Proteas were staring down the barrel right from the first over on Day 3 after they resumed the first innings on 9 for 2 with Umesh Yadav getting rid of skipper Faf du Plessis in the very first over with a superb delivery.

The collapse started from there on as they lost 16 wickets throughout the day but managed to hang on and take the game to the fourth day. India, who declared at 497 for 9 in their first innings, will be looking to wrap things up early on Tuesday and sweep the series 3-0 when they take the field on Day 4.

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