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Ranji Trophy – Shahbaz Nadeem wants to keep knocking on India’s door


Shahbaz Nadeem recently became the latest entrant in the bowlers’ club with 500 first-class wickets. He reached there in the last round of Ranji Trophy matches, at the end of which, he also took 381 wickets in the tournament, making him the 12th most successful bowler in Ranji Trophy. For a boy from Muzaffarpur, around 80 km from Patna, reaching the milestone is a “sense of satisfaction” as well as “achieving something that not many are able to do”.

“After playing for so many years, it’s a really good feeling [he made his first-class debut in December 2004]”You get to a place like this, you achieve something big,” Nadeem told ESPNcricinfo. whether you play for your country or your state [in India’s domestic circuit]You feel proud when you know that you have achieved something that not many people have been able to do.”

Nadeem has played all his domestic cricket for Jharkhand, a total of 129 first-class matches (before the start of the latest round in the Ranji Trophy on 17 January) and 127 List A matches, plus 144 T20Is, including 72 matches. IPL, where he has been with Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Lucknow Super Giants.

Along the way, after several years of loudly and persistently knocking on the doors of the national team, he got to play two Tests: at his home ground Ranchi, against South Africa, in October 2019, and in Chennai, against England. Against, in February 2021. He has eight wickets in those two matches.

Nadeem’s career really took off after his father, a policeman, was transferred from Dhanbad to Muzaffarpur. In the 2004–05 season, he was selected to play for Jharkhand against Kerala in Jamshedpur (in Jharkhand, a state that was carved out of the larger state of Bihar in 2000). It was a remarkable debut, as he took just two wickets in a drawn match, but he stuck to it, and has today made a name for himself among India’s domestic legends.

And now, after reaching 500, 600 doesn’t seem too far away. Nor the magic number of 637, the Ranji Trophy wicket-taking record held by left-arm spinners like Nadeem, Rajinder Goel, who played 157 first-class matches between 1958–59 and 1984–85.

Nadeem said, “When I am playing, I don’t have any specific target, but yes, if you keep playing and do well, you achieve some target and if I get 653 wickets, If I could, that would be great.” “But that’s not what my aim is. I just want to do well and help my team win.”

Shahbaz Nadeem waiting for ‘another chance’ in Test cricket

At 33, after over a decade and a half of professional cricket, there may not be many opportunities for Nadeem to feature in those two Test matches, but he hasn’t completely given up on the dream.

“The only thing I can do is keep taking wickets as much as possible and I am doing that,” said Nadeem, who has taken 30 wickets in five matches including three five-fours in this season’s Ranji Trophy so far. “I was third in the list of wicket-takers last season [with 25 wickets from five matches]And I am taking wickets this season as well.

“I feel that if, season after season, I am the highest wicket-taker, If Allah wills itI might get another chance to play Test cricket.”

Before that, though, there is a Ranji Trophy campaign to worry about, and for Jharkhand, currently placed third in Elite Group C behind Karnataka and Kerala, the remaining games loom large. As are they for Nadeem, who may cross a few more milestones before realizing he’s had enough.

Syed Hussain is a multimedia journalist at ESPNcricinfo Hindi @imsyedhussain

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