RCB celebrates when Tabraiz Shamsi took first wicket of Ajinkya Rahane in Match 16 of IPL 2016 at Pune © AFP
RCB celebrates when Tabraiz Shamsi took first wicket of Ajinkya Rahane in Match 16 of IPL 2016 at Pune © AFP

As they say one person’s misfortune is another’s opportunity, and that is exactly what has happened for Royal Challengers Bangalore’s newbie Tabraiz Shamsi. The South African cricketer received a call from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after an injury to Samuel Badree, which was as good as a body blow to them. The call to Shamsi was a surprise for many, as the cricketing world remains unaware of his existence. But, in his debut game for RCB against Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in the IPL 2016 on Friday night, Shamsi gave a glimpse of his talent, bowling a few tight overs and even claiming an important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Rising Pune Supergiants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2016, Match 16 at Pune

Where, When and How— Birth, Professional Phase and Cricket: Shamsi, born in Johannesburg, studied marketing. He has always aimed to be a magician some day, but looks like cricket happened to him, just like magic. He made his First-Class debut for Gauteng in 2009 and has played for Titans since then in the South African domestic circuit. But luck shone on him when West Indian cricketer Marlon Samuels spotted the talent and helped him get the first break in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Shamsi’s economical spell in a practice match for West Indies against South African invitational XI in December 2014 had paved the way. He was picked by St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2015.

From South Africa to West Indies to Bangalore: Though his career began in the South African domestic cricket, it was during this phase Shamsi received golden occasion to learn from South Africa’s experience spinner Imran Tahir. He credits Tahir for teaching him the art of twirler and considers Tahir as his elder brother. If Shamsi has received special ticket to IPL 2016, it is all for his performance in CPL topping the leading wicket taking charts with 11 wickets from 7 games at an average of 13.27, while maintaining an economy rate of 6.79. Interestingly, Shamsi has overshadowed Badree in the CPL, and probably that is one reason for his call in RCB. His average is considered to be second best after yet another known spinner from CPL, Devendra Bishoo. Badree’s average was the turning point that in turn leads Shamsi overshadowing him. Shamsi will surely remember the start of his career point — from South Africa to West Indies to Bangalore.

Shamsi is fondly called as ‘Sorcerer’ for his deceptive nature of bowling. When it comes to celebrations, just like his role model Tahir, Shamsi goes over-the-top on-field after scalping an important wicket. Shamsi aims to play for the national side soon, but competition will be stiff with Tahir and few others in already in reckoning.

Here is what Allan Donald told ESPNcricinfo, “Meet our new mysterious spinner. He has arrived from Johannesburg this morning. Yet to get to know him a lot better but I’ve seen him bowl for the Titans. He is very successful with what he’s done in the past couple of years so look out for a lot of mystery balls in there!”

Just to add some information to all the questions answered here, Shamsi has grabbed 272 wickets so far from 68 First-Class games at an impressive average of 24.90. However the slow left-arm chinaman’s stats in limited-overs cricket are not as impressive with 45 wickets from 44 T20 matches at an average of 23.64 and economy rate of 7.03.

(Shruti Hariharan is a Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)