IND vs ENG: Story Behind Joe Root Developing Wrists Of Magic To Master Spin (Special)
Former Pakistan spinner Nadeem Khan has a habit of causing heartbreak to Indian fans without grabbing the limelight.
The man who famously ran out Sachin Tendulkar during an Asian Test Championship match in Kolkata in 1999, triggering riots at Eden Gardens, also mentored India's latest nemesis - Joe Root - and taught him initial lessons on how to play spin. Root was in school at the time.
"Joe came in the first team [Sheffield Collegiate Club in Yorkshire] at a very early age, 15 perhaps. I used to play there as a professional cricketer. The pitch at that time used to aid turn. Obviously, since he was much younger to others, he had no power to hit shots as the other players in the first team had," Nadeem, currently Director (High Performance) with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), told IANS.
"Technically, he was very sound, his defense was very strong. For scoring options, he had to develop some strokes. You must have seen that he maneuvers the ball a lot. He does that because he came in the first team at a very young age and manoeuvering was the only scoring option to him. Since he had less power, he had to learn to maneuver the ball," said the 51-year-old, who played two Tests and two ODIs for Pakistan in the 1990s.
Ahead of the first Test match against India in Chennai, England captain Root credited his ability to play spin to his early training with Nadeem.
"We had a very good overseas pro in Nadeem Khan. I was able to practice against him all the time. I would speak to him all the time and even from 12-13 years of age, I had a good education on how to go about that side of the battle," Root had said ahead of the first Test that England won by 227 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Root scored 218 in the first innings of the first Test against India at Chennai as he continued his fine form on Asian surfaces after scores of 228 and 186 in the two Tests in Sri Lanka.
That Root possesses supreme skills to handle spin bowling is evident from his performance; he averages 64.76 in India, 65.5 in Sri Lanka, and 57.4 in the UAE, where he played Pakistan.
Nadeem, brother of former Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan, points out that Root's batting is quite different from other English batsmen who don't maneuver as much and says that hours and hours of practice had helped him develop into a fine batsman against spinners.