Bengal left-arm spinner all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed became the 247th cricketer to play for India in an ODI match when he was included in the Indian team for the second ODI against South Africa in Ranchi on Sunday(October 9).

The game was just into its fourth over when Dhawan brought the debutant into the attack. And Shahbaz ensured he was accurate right from the ball one. On a dry wicket, he kept bowling the stump-to-stump line and getting the odd one to turn just a bit away which helped him taking Malan’s wicket in the fifth ball of his fourth over. The DRS confirmed Shahbaz his first-ever wicket in international cricket and Shahbaz Ahmed’s joy knew no bounds. And why wouldn’t it be so?

It was challenging and hard times few years back. He used to bunk college in his third year for his love for the game without the consent of his parents. His father Ahmed Jan wanted him to pursue Engineering as Education had been always his priority. Ahmed can’t forget the day when they received a letter from Shahbaz’s college that he had not been attending classes for months. The worried parents visited him in Gurgaon, but he was not there, as he had gone off to play cricket. They went to the college and then got to know that he was bunking classes.

Recalling those days, Jan Ahmed spoke to Indian Express about it. “It was the first time we came to know that he loves playing cricket. In fact, he had even attended Haryana U-19 camp for the past two years,” recalled Ahmed.

Then came the moment which shook both Ahmed and mother Abnam as Shahbaz told them that he wanted to move to Kolkata to pursue his cricketing dreams and he would have to drop out of college.

“He was determined to do something big. Even his college professors told him that it was a mistake because he was a good student. Shahbaz told his head of department that ‘one day you will give me my degree and also felicitate me.’ And last year it happened,” Abnam told the Indian Express in an exclusive interview.

After all these years, Jan is still unhappy with the fact his son, an ‘A’ grade student, randomly decided to quit his studies to play cricket.

“Like any middle-class family, we do love watching cricket, in fact, I have played till college, but education has always been our priority. My father, Mohammad Ishak was a headmaster, I am a government employee, my younger brother is a teacher, and my daughter is a doctor. Even Shahbaz was a brilliant student, he got 80% in Class X, and 88% in XII. Never in my wildest dream did I ever think that he would quit studies to play cricket. Koi baap nahi chahega ki uska beta padhai chhod ke cricket khele. (No father would want his son to play cricket at the cost of education,” Jan told the Indian Express, who had now been given a earful by his wife and Shahbaz’s mother Abnam.

“Ye abhi tak 2015 mey hi hai. Mai bhi chahti thi BTech complete kare, achi job le, magar aapko apne bacche ki bhi toh baatein sun leni chahiye ki wo kya karnaa chahta hai. (He (Ahmed) is still living in 2015. I also wanted him to complete his engineering, get a good job, but at times, you have to listen to your kids also, what they want from life,” Abnam told the Indian Express in an exclusive

interview with a beaming smile on her face.

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