Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has finally been rewarded for his stupendous show on the domestic circuit. Nadeem was handed a Test debut at his home ground in Ranchi in the third and final Test against South Africa.
It has been a fantastic two days for the Jharkhand cricketer, who got a surprise call-up on the eve of the Test match after chinaman Kuldeep Yadav was ruled out from the third Test due to a shoulder injury.
Nadeem was included into the Indian playing XI in place of Ishant Sharma, who has been rested for the ongoing third and final Test.
“… Ishant has been given a break. Shahbaz Nadeem makes his debut. Unfortunately, Kuldeep (Yadav) couldn't pull up. Nadeem is the local boy and it's a dream debut,” said Virat Kohli at the toss.
Nadeem is the 296th cricketer to play Test cricket for India. After the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Varun Aaron, Nadeem is the third cricketer from Jharkhand to represent India in Test cricket.
Nadeem has been a prolific performer for Jharkhand and India A over a period of time.
The 30-year-old has a distinctive record of taking more than 50 wickets across two successive editions of the Ranji Trophy -- 51 and 56 dismissals in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons respectively.
The orthodox left-arm spinner has taken 424 wickets in 110 first-class matches with 19 five-wicket and five 10-wicket hauls.
In last year's Vijay Hazare Trophy fixture between Rajasthan and Jharkhand, Nadeem set a new List A cricket record of taking eight wickets for ten runs from 10 overs.
He has been a regular part of India A squads, and had good returns in each of his last three series in the longer format, all with India A.
Nadeem took seven wickets in two matches against England Lions in February. When India A travelled to West Indies in July-August, he played in two of the three first-class fixtures, taking 15 wickets. He performed well against South Africa A at home too last month, with eight wickets in two matches at 16.75.
In October last year, he was named in India's T20I squad for their series against the West Indies. However, he didn't get a chance to play for the national side.
(With inputs from IANS)