Nadeem was fast-tracked into the squad, and then into the eleven after Axar Patel was injured before the match – Patel himself was a replacement for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who is missing the series owing to surgery on his fractured thumb which he sustained in Australia.
Sanjay Manjrekar says that Nadeem failed to fill the big boots of Jadeja as not only the off-spinner didn’t seem challenging enough to eke out wickets, but also leaked runs. The same was the case with Washington Sundar.
After England saw off India’s first line of attack – Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and R Ashwin – the visiting batsmen – Joe Root and Ben Stokes in particular – cashed in on the experience of Nadeem and Sundar, who both were playing only their second Test match.
The Three Lions posted a massive total of 578, and India could never challenge a victory as the hosts lost – only for the second time in a home Test since 2013 – by a 277-run margin.
It wasn’t the usual Indian spin attack at home: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar says that the Indian spin attack wasn’t as threatening as it usually is in home conditions and both the young spinner couldn’t live up to the expectations.
Indeed, Nadeem was given the nod ahead of Kuldeep Yadav, who was expected to play, but because of Axar Patel’s injury, the management included Nadeem to provide the left-arm off-spin option as Jadeja.
“Let’s talk about Indian spin. India played three spinners. You had R Ashwin, who bowled like Ashwin does but Shahbaz Nadeem was a massive disappointment. He was expected to be that Jadeja kind of a bowler… accurate and quick in the air on a turning pitch. He looked a little under confident. Washington Sundar a little disappointing after his showing in Australia so when you look at the attack, it wasn’t the usual Indian spin attack at home,” Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
The second Test commences on 13th February at the same venue; it is to be seen that finally whether Kuldeep Yadav gets a Test to play after his 5-wicket haul in Sydney two years ago.