It's not everyday that a domestic cricketer gets an opportunity to bowl to a legend like Sachin Tendulkar in a competitive match and talented Jharkhand left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem is the first one to admit that there is a lot of pressure on him.
Nadeem, who has been a surprise package for the Daredevils having bowled at an economy rate of less than six runs per over in the seven matches and has been one of Virender Sehwag's potent bowling weapon, "I have bowled against Sachin paaji on nets during IPL-III but I will be bowling against him for the first time in a competitive game. Of course there is additional pressure but I know that I have to perform well," Nadeem said.
Ask him if he has some strategy planned for Tendulkar, Nadeem went on the defensive.
"Can anyone succeed by just having a particular strategy against a batsman of his calibre? My only job will be to perform to the best of my abilities."
The Jharkhand lad idolises Daniel Vettori and wants to get tips from the New Zealander on how to get better as a bowler.
"Vettori is my idol. I grew up watching him. I could not get chance to meet him but I would love to seek some tips from the great bowler," the 23-year-old from Bokaro, said.
Nadeem feels that Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag has been an inspiration and his constant encouragement has helped him evolve as a bowler.
"Everyone knows Virubhai's calibre as a batsman. As a captain, he is inspirational and always motivates youngsters."
Son of a cop, Nadeem's interest in sport grew watching youngsters train at the big ground near his house. Having played for India U-19, Nadeem also played club cricket for Kolkata's first division club Town AC.
He harboured aspirations to play for Bengal (in Ranji Elite division) but was pipped by another outstation boy Iresh Saxena from Faridabad. That prompted his return to Jharkhand and play for them in the Plate League.
But with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and to some extent Saurabh Tiwary's example right in front of him, the slightly built left-arm can aim at bigger glories.
"Dhoni has taught us, the small-town boys that one must dare to dream. From Ranchi, he not only captained India but also created new milestones," he signed off.