Shahbaz Ahmed: Bengal’s disaster man from Haryana who has made a mark in IPL too

Shahbaz Ahmed: Bengal’s disaster man from Haryana who has made a mark in IPL too

From not making it to the Haryana Under-19 workforce, pursuing engineering, shifting to Kolkata and taking part in Ranji Trophy for Bengal regardless of being labelled an ‘outsider’, to creating a mark within the Indian Premier League, Shahbaz Ahmed has seen all of it.

In 2015, Shahbaz, a third-year civil engineering pupil, advised his father Ahmed Jan that he desires to maneuver to Kolkata to pursue his cricketing goals after a suggestion from Pramod Chandila, a former Bengal cricketer (Chandila is taking part in for Haryana now). Jan, a clerk within the sub-divisional Justice of the Peace’s workplace in Haryana’s Nuh district, booked a prepare ticket for his son on the situation that he’ll full his engineering diploma.

“Koi baap nahi chahega ki uska beta padhai chhor ke cricket khele. Zid thi uski ki wo kuchh bada karega (No father would want his son to play cricket at the cost of education. He was determined to do something big),” Jan advised The Indian Express.

“Even his college professors told him that it was a mistake because he was a good student. Shahbaz told his head of department that ‘one day you will give me my degree and also felicitate me.’ And last year it happened.”


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 With his civil engineering books and a cricketing package, Shahbaz reached Kolkata and joined Tapan Memorial Club within the first division. It has not been a straightforward journey for Shahbaz as after taking part in his first recreation, the then-21-year-old was banned and labelled an ‘outsider’.


It was solely after Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) carried out an investigation and gave him the go-ahead that Shahbaz might play once more. Six years down the road, he’s now one of many key gamers of the Bengal workforce in all codecs and exhibiting his mettle within the IPL as nicely.

Ahead of the 2018-19 home season, the then Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary noticed Shahbaz taking part in in one of many league matches and requested for his stats. Next day, through the Ranji Trophy workforce choice, Manoj put out the numbers in entrance of the selectors. There have been reservations about Shahbaz as a result of he was not initially from Bengal, however Tiwary was adamant and at last had his manner.

“We needed a bowler who could bat at No. 7 or 8. Shahbaz was perfect for the role, and his numbers were there to see. Sourav Ganguly was CAB president, and he was there in the meeting too. I vividly remember telling him that this guy will win us matches single-handedly,” Tiwary advised The Indian Express.

As far as Shahbaz’s ‘outsider’ tag is worried, Tiwary, now West Bengal’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, mentioned: “Any cricketer, if he or she is not born in Bengal, will face this problem. The outsider tag will go away slowly with performances. Look at Mohammed Shami; he was an outsider too.”

In Tiwary aka ‘Manni bhaiyya’, Shahbaz had an elder brother within the dressing room. It was beneath him that he made his first-class debut.

Coach in his nook

If Tiwary took Shahbaz beneath his wings, it was Bengal coach Arun Lal who made him a tricky nut. Like Shahbaz, Lal didn’t have his roots in Bengal. He was an outsider as soon as, however was additionally the renaissance man of Bengal cricket who introduced a successful mentality to the workforce as a participant within the Nineteen Eighties.

Shahbaz’s breakthrough season got here in 2019-20, the all-rounder scoring 509 runs with the bat and bagging 35 wickets along with his left-arm spin. He was instrumental in Bengal reaching the finals. In February 2020, Bengal was taking part in Punjab in Patiala. It was a digital pre-quarterfinal as each groups wanted an outright victory. Bengal prevailed on a dustbowl with Shahbaz taking 11 wickets.

But on Day 2 of the sport, Lal was miffed with the best way Shahbaz received out in Bengal’s second innings, taking part in a wild hoick, prompting a mouthful from the coach within the dressing room. But Lal charges Shahbaz very extremely, and as per him, he’s India materials. “I was surprised when he was not picked for India A. Tell me how many cricketers in Ranji Trophy score 500-plus runs and take 35 wickets,” asks Lal.

In the current IPL season, Shahbaz grew to become one of many mainstays for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He scored 219 runs and bagged 4 wickets in 16 video games, however what the numbers gained’t present is the immense religion the administration confirmed within the all-rounder. Against Rajasthan Royals, Shahbaz smashed a 26-ball 45; it was his 67-run stand for the sixth wicket with Dinesh Karthik, which gained the match for the workforce.

In the present Ranji season, Shahbaz has scored 221 runs and bagged eight wickets within the group stage. In the primary recreation in opposition to Baroda, Bengal have been bowled out for a paltry 88. Subsequently, they wanted 350 runs to win within the fourth innings and have been reeling at 176 for five on Day 4.

Shahbaz stepped up. He first put collectively a 66-run stand with Tiwary (37), after which added an unbeaten 108-run partnership with debutant Abhishek Porel (53 not out) as Bengal gained by 4 wickets. In the second recreation in opposition to Hyderabad, Shahbaz’s 40 and 51 with the bat and 4 wickets with the ball helped Bengal win by 62 runs.

Shahbaz Ahmed along with his father Ahmed Jan and mom Abnam. (Express photograph)

“I am not surprised with his performance. He is always very cool under pressure, loves challenges, and has a great understanding of the game. He is a thinking cricketer, very rare among the current lot. He is too good to be batting at No. 7 or 8,” mentioned Lal.

But the Bengal coach believes Shahbaz provides nice worth batting at that quantity. “He has this amazing ability to bat with the tail; no one else in our team has that skill. I am so dependent on him because he is a guaranteed performer. In this year’s Ranji Trophy, he was the player of the match in two games out of three we played,” the 66-year-old mentioned. “Shahbaz is an exceptional story, and this is just the beginning of a stellar career.”

More to return

As far as his IPL stint goes, each Tiwary and Lal really feel Shahbaz can contribute extra with the ball for his franchise. “(RCB skipper) Faf (du Plessis) should have used him more. His bowling is suited to T20s. Maybe, it is because of the dew that he was not getting more overs but I think it is an under-utilisation of the resource. Hopefully, we will see him bowling more in the next season,” mentioned Tiwary.

Meanwhile, at his village Sikrawa in Haryana’s Mewat district, Jan desires his son to play for his nation and hold a stage head. “Allah ne chaha toh desh ke liye bhi khelega. Humne kab socha tha ki Haryana se mauke nahi milenge toh Bengal jayega, fir IPL. Bas achcha khelta rahe aur success ko dimag pe na chadhne de. (By God’s grace, he will play for India one day as well. We never imagined that he would play for Bengal and then in the IPL. Hopefully, success will not get into his head),” the proud father signed off.

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