Tackling a marauder like Rohit Sharma is right at the top of leg-spinner Shadab Khan’s check-list but when the Indian skipper doesn’t occupy his mind-space, the Pakistan vice-captain doesn’t shy away from expressing his love for Bollywood movies and local food.
Ajay Devgn would have little clue about how big an impression he had made on Shadab.
Glancing at the top cop from Hyderabad police manning the media conference room, the leg-spinner couldn’t help saying: “Singham bhi aaye hain yaha pe. (I see Singham is also present here).”
The reference of super-hit Bollywood cop movie wasn’t lost on anyone as Shadab spoke with a lot of warmth about how the ‘City of Nizams’ have received their cricket team with open arms.
“The welcome was fantastic at the (Hyderabad) airport and also a lot of people have been thronging the team hotel and hospitality wise it’s been really good,” Shadab told mediapersons during the first official media conference organised by the team.
Hyderabadi food is meant to tickle everyone’s taste buds and Shadab is no different.
“The food has been really tasty and the support staff (all South Africans) are worried that we end up increasing our fat percentage (laughs). Hope, we get the same love in Ahmedabad where we play India (laughs),” said Shadab referring to his team’s much-awaited clash against the arch-rivals on October 14.
As the discussion turned towards cricket, the reverence for Rohit was there to be seen. He also picked up Kuldeep Yadav as the most dangerous Indian bowler.
“I admire Rohit Sharma a lot and among the leading batsmen in the world he is the most difficult to bowl to. Once he gets set he becomes very dangerous. Among the bowlers, since I am a leg-spinner, it will be Kuldeep Yadav given his recent form,” said Shadab.
“We have learnt from our Asia Cup mistakes”
Pakistan failed to defend 346 against the New Zealand and have plenty to think about in the bowling department including the form of premier spinner Shadab who did not bowl in the warm-up but had a forgettable Asia Cup. The next warm-up game is against Australia on October 3.
His form is key for Pakistan in the middle-overs and the 24-year-old had no qualms in admitting that he did not have the best of times in Asia Cup where four of his six wickets came against Nepal and he ended with an average of 40.83.
“The Asia Cup didn’t go well but that’s the beauty of cricket you learn from your mistakes and there is always an opportunity to learn and play good cricket. After we lost the Asia Cup we got good rest and I believe it’s no more a skill game but a mental game and it’s the World Cup situation. You can take good decisions when you are relaxed mentally.”
Shadab is already a star but he knows the World Cup provides him with the opportunity of becoming a superstar.