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Man like SM makes Hyderabad's future perfect

india Updated: Dec 11, 2007 20:36 IST
Anam Arsalan
Anam Arsalan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A smooth open-chested action and an equally lethal delivery, that's

Shoaib at his best. No he isn't Shoaib Akhtar but SM. Shoaib,

Hyderabad's spearhead.

"He is a different bowler, and I am different," asserts the six-foot

five-inch bowler, who made his Ranji debut against Bengal this season.

"Still I would like to meet him," he adds on second thoughts.

The reason he is here is because as many as nine players from

Hyderabad have defected to the rebel Indian Cricket League.

"I made my debut this season but I had been playing for long,"

justified Shoaib. "In fact I was a part of the Hyderabad XI team that

played against the South Africa in a tour game in November 2005".

He continued, "Shaun Pollock was impressed by my performance and had

advised me to concentrate on my fitness."

"I was part of the Under-22 squad too. But I didn't play last year as

I was down with injury. I had a back spasm."

And according to him ICL wasn't the only reason he got an opportunity

to move to the top league. "It's because of my performances in the

Under-22 and at the league level. I had even performed on

spin-friendly tracks like Vizag," added the 20-year old.

Interestingly, his action wasn't as smooth as it looks now. "I used to

bowl side-on and that often led to injuries. I changed it this year on

the insistence of our bowling coach Kanwaljit Singh and have been

doing well since then."

Though he didn't take any wickets on Monday, but was impressive on

Sunday. He finished the day with figures of 11-5-19-2.

In the same league as him is A. Lalith Mohan. At 17-years he is the

youngest in the Hyderabad squad.

The left-arm orthodox spinner who too made his debut this season, is

not a part of the playing eleven here. He had to make way for Shoaib

keeping in mind the nature of the track which has assisted the pacers.

And he isn't cribbing at all. "I am just happy to be a part of the

squad and so are my parents," said the boy who is skipping college

this year to concentrate on his game.

Asked had he made a debut this season if the there wasn't an exodus of

players to the ICL, he said, "I can't say about that. I had been

performing at the Under-22 level and probably that's why I was

picked."

Interestingly as many as seven players from the Hyderabad Under-22

team have joined the Ranji squad this season

Apart from Shoaib and Mohan, the others include Habeeb Ahmed, Vishal

Sharma, Ashwin Yadav and Mohammad Khader and Danny Derek Prince, who

made his debut in the ongoing Hyderabad versus Andhra match.

So what is the take of the seniors on the new crop?

Pragyan Ojha, who at 21 years is a veteran with 26 games said, "They

are doing really well. You can't expect much from a young team, still

they are contributing, which is impressive."

S.M. Shoaib went on to quote VVS. Laxman, saying, "Lxman bahiya was

with us for the first two games. He said, 'this team is looks very

good.'"

The best part is that their presence has made the atmosphere in the

dressing room all the more levelly. "We do have a lot of fun and no

one stops us from that," said Mohan. "Shoaib is a chatter box, you

just can't stop him when he is at," he Mohan exclaimed.

Shoaib defended. "He is saying that as he is at the receiving end when

I am at my best. I like to trouble him the most."

Coach Vivek Jaisimha too was all praise for the crop. "They are the

future," he summed up.