South African bowler Tabraiz Shamsi: Brings his magical bowling tricks to all kinds of spinning and wicket festivities and contagious energy to a team in need of some loot.
Harry Potter fans would know this as the Room of Requirement; Muggle cricketers call it backend operations. Tabraiz Shamsi is an amateur magician. He is also professionally concerned why some Googlies don’t spin as much in cricket as he would like.
For the Proteas Chinaman Bowler, the requirement room, from which he could retrieve all game data, used to be the trusty, former South African analyst Prasanna Agoram, who combined his knowledge and fast processor.
Prasanna would be enviable in the trial and error races of the classic wizard Shamsi turnstile with the cricket ball.
What unglamorous and idiosyncratic progress of her left arm twisting.
“I’d never point out that he’s missing his length or the back foot was collapsing, at 12.30 in the night. Because Shamo, you see, would then take me to the nets at 1 a.m! He’s capable of calling the manager and telling him at that hour that I have to practice NOW. You had to be careful about what you told him at 1 a.m,” Prasanna laughs, underlining ungrudging admiration for the Proteas spinner’s dedication.
A series of self-recriminations in staccato would follow the ‘Bhai, can you please put on the shit-ball that went for a six.’ “He’d curse himself watching replays: ‘no good, not international class, garbage ball.’ If you try telling him it is ‘well-played from Jos Butler and not exactly a poor ball, he’d be hard on himself and say, ‘This is nonsense from Shamo’,” Prasanna recalls of his exacting standards.
At 1:00 am sharp, Shamsi often came looking for what he called “shit balls” in what Prasanna thought was less than run-a-ball bowling magic.
Because the number one South African freak, who made Saffer’s bowling attack mysterious, if he didn’t completely overshadow his pacemaker battery, he knows that sleight of hand can result in uncontrollable strokes of fate. In both magic and cricket.
A 15-year-old boy from Paarl who, like Wasim Akram and Chaminda Vaas, tried to bowl quickly, had ended up flipping the left arm of all kinds after years of compulsive tuning. And he included errors and omissions in the five steps of his preliminary execution.
Shamsi was born in Johannesburg and wanted to be super fast in the land of fast pacemakers.
However, his advancement did not follow the usual path of being identified early for the top teams in schools and age groups. He also told her that he was not fast enough.
Speaking to the Pavilion Conversations with C.S the podcast recently, Shamsi recalls his first break at age 15 when he was bowling alone on school nets with the cricket coach’s office nearby. The coach came up and asked him what he was doing.
“I said, ‘Sir, the U15 trials are coming up. I want to make the Paarl team wanna progress’. He told me – you are not gonna make it. But even there I thought he realized the type of character I am. That was just his way to push me even harder. He said ‘Don’t waste your time practicing coz you won’t get selected. And I was even more driven,” he told the host Mr. Chiwanza.
Prasanna says there can be new hairdos before every game
One of his most famous triumphant trumpets in the field is drawing a wand from a handkerchief, a magician’s staple. But never in cricket, where he rubs the magic glossary on slow bowlers and their tricks.
Sometimes the magic lies in not believing the nonsense and deception. Like leaderboards.
“I don’t lose sleep over being No 1. Obviously, it’s a nice feeling to be on top. But I’ve said it before and I truly mean it. I don’t even think I’m the best bowler on our team. We have some great bowlers in the unit. Rankings don’t mean anything if a batsman gets hold of you. I don’t even know how those rankings work honestly.”
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