However, the joy of bowling to big stars like Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard in practice was curtailed as the IPL was postponed due to covid. However, sometimes one lost opportunity opens up another window of fortune. On Friday, as he was catching a few winks in his car during his 350-km journey, Nagwaswalla was awakened with a news which he could scarcely believe: The 23-year-old left-arm pacer from Gujarat, who has picked up 62 wickets in 16 first-class games @22.53, with four five-wicket hauls, and 39 wickets in 20 List A games, had surprisingly been chosen as a reserve for India’s tour of England for the World Test Championship final and the five-Test series in England.
“I’m surprised and overwhelmed with my selection,” Nagwaswalla told TOI. “The conditions in England are ideal for a bowler like me. I’m pretty excited to go there,” he said. He had picked up 41 wickets in eight games for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy last season, including a seven-wicket haul in the semis against Saurashtra (5-81 & 2-75).
We are very proud to announce that our Left Arm Seamer Arzan Nagwaswalla has been selected in #TeamIndia as stand b… https://t.co/p1ciWpKSIg
— Gujarat Cricket Association (Official) (@GCAMotera) 1620395194000
Arzan Nagwaswalla was not even born when Farokh Engineer — the last Parsi cricketer to have featured in the India men’s team — played his final Test for the country in 1975. The last women’s India cricketer, Diana Edulji, played for the final time in July 1993. “I didn’t know all that,” he said, when told that he was the first Parsee cricketer to play for India in 28 years. For a Parsee, it isn’t surprising that the youngster has played at the Parsee Gymkhana in Mumbai. “I’ve bowled there in a competition for the Parsees,” he said.
“It was exciting to interact with Rohit Sharma and Zaheer Khan, who’s my idol, during my stint with MI, but I have never met Virat Kohli,” said the young turk. “It was India’s 2011 World Cup victory which inspired me to take up cricket as a career,” he recalled.
Like most talented cricketers from Gujarat these days, the seamer started his career under former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. “He was one of the first to congratulate me. He encouraged me a lot,” said Nagwaswalla. “I’m very happy for him. It’s good to see that he’s been rewarded after three-four years of first-class cricket. He’s been bowling brilliantly in the last two-three seasons. He can bowl at around 135kmph and can swing the ball,” Parthiv told this paper. “He comes from a small village, from where it takes eight-nine hours to reach Ahmedabad. So, he has gone through the hardships, the grind of first-class cricket,” he said.
“He can swing the ball well,” said Vijay Patel, who was the Gujarat coach when Nagwaswalla made his first-class debut.