IPL 2021: RR’s new recruit Tabraiz Shamsi seeks game time in IPL to prepare for T20 World Cup

South Africa and Rajasthan Royals spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has said his mantra for achieving success is to keep things simple, work hard in training and look to have fun in the middle. Rajasthan Royals named South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi as the replacement of Australia fast bowler Andrew Tye for the remainder of IPL 2021. The World No 1 T20I bowler Tabraiz Shamsi has picked up 45 wickets in 39 T20Is, along with 32 wickets in 27 ODIs for South Africa, and looks all set to weave his magic in the IPL 2021 too.

Speaking with ANI, Tabraiz Shamsi opened up on his hopes from the remainder of the IPL 2021 season, the upcoming T20 World Cup in Oman and UAE, what he wants to learn from the experience of bowling in UAE pitches, and much more.

“I think first and foremost, regular game time is what I have needed since I joined the national team. I haven’t really had regular game time because Imran Tahir was the first choice spinner and I would play one time now and another game one month later. I think that consistency show what you can do and learn from your mistakes, if you make mistakes in one game then you can correct them in another. That makes a big difference as well,” Tabraiz Shamsi said.

“If you do something right then you want to build on that so regular game time is one thing I finally got after being in the national team for four years. I like to keep things simple, there is no secret or formula to get success. Everybody works hard in the nets, I just try to break my game plan into simple works, so fewer instructions given to my brain, I think it is easier to execute the simple plans better,” he added.

When asked about the upcoming IPL season, Shamsi said: “I do not think there is any tricky situation in cricket, we are in a tough spot but there is half competition to go so I do not think there is any concern. I have not met up with the team yet because I am still in quarantine but the mood in the camp seems nice. I have personally been treated very nicely so that for me, it is a big positive.

“Just like the South African team, I will try to do my best, sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. My goal is to provide match-winning performances, work hard in the training and have fun in the middle, that’s how I like to play,” added the World No.1 T20I bowler.

Replying to a question on Sanju Samson’s leadership, Shamsi said: “Having watched Sanju Samson, I played one A team game against him, he is a fabulous player. Looking forward to playing with him. Having a young captain can be a massive advantage and he has my respect. Young players come with different mindset and energy, young captains with fresh energy and he seems to have the respect from the group and he has mine also.”

“We spoke briefly when the announcement was made about my signing, he welcomed me very nicely, but like I mentioned we have not been to training yet, we are still in training so we will have more chats once we get to the stadium. I am really looking forward to joining the team and also meeting the management because they have been nice to me.”

Talking about the mental health and the fatigue which can creep in because of the bio-bubbles, the 31-year-old said: “Yeah, it is a big challenge. When COVID-19 first crept in, we had to find a way of starting sports again and starting cricket again. Bio-bubbles was the way forward, but long term, I think there has to be a different solution. I have played in the Hundred and that was a different experience with lot fewer restrictions on the players, it definitely helped.”

“It is difficult to stay mentally and physically ready for games and you know, we are professionals and it is our job. But it can get difficult to be locked up in a room but you have to find a way. A lot of players now play PC games, it is a way for us guys to connect and play a few games together. I play a bit of Call of Duty, not really good at it though,” he added.

Talking about his much-famed celebration style on the pitch, the Proteas spinner said: “My celebrations are my way of enjoying myself. In international cricket and IPL, there is a lot of pressure on players to perform. There is a lot of expectation so for me, it is just about enjoying myself on the field. That is just my way of maintaining that fun element because I think that brings out the best in me.”

“COVID has brought a change into my game as well, because there are no crowds. I get a lot of energy from the crowd so I think that has toned down a bit because of no crowds. This is one element that I have missed. Crowds will be back in the IPL, it would not be the same as India, I do not think any place in the world can match that but yeah, it will be nice in front of some crowds again,” he added.

Lastly, talking about how playing in the IPL will hold him in good stead for the T20 World Cup, Shamsi said: “I am somebody who has never played in the UAE before so it will be nice to play games on the same pitches in order to get a better understanding of what to do and what not to do. But I do not think gameplans change much wherever you play in the world.”

“Personally, it all comes down to execution. That is one thing I have learnt. I played for RCB earlier in the IPL, I was younger and a lot less experienced then. This time around, things are different, I am getting a very good vibe within the group and that’s what brings out the best in me,” he signed off.