Salam had the experienced Shikhar Dhawan on the hop early and conceded only 21 runs in his first three overs before Rishabh Pant spoiled his figures in his final over, which cost 21 runs. The young paceman made his List A debut for J&K in the 2018–19 Vijay Hazare Trophy and his first-class debut in the 2018–19 Ranji Trophy season.
For a player who had just made his first T20 appearance in the 2018–19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy little over a month ago, Salam showed admirable temperament.
“He is quiet but there is a quiet confidence about him as well in terms of his skills and what he can deliver and that’s what I have really enjoyed about him. I thought there is a certain calmness about him, there is no doubt he would have been nervous,” Bond told MITV.
“It was not the best start with no-ball yet the whole time he looked pretty composed. So, for someone so young to have that composure, that was great to see and I think he needs that composure if he wants to go forward in this tournament. It was exciting to see him play and I know he would have wanted to get his first wicket under the belt but I am sure that will come someway down the trip,” he added.
Bond, who is also the head coach of Big Bash League franchise Sydney Thunder, said he is impressed with Salam’s appetite to learn.
“He has got very good skills, at the end it’s just about complementing those skills. This is where we want you to bowl, this is how your skillset is going to work… then having some strategies in the back-end of the innings and just coping with the pressure and staying calm. He is fairly easy to work with, he has been asking questions, he has been sucking up all the knowledge from myself and Zak (Zaheer)… so, yes he has made a really nice start to the tournament,” the 43-year-old Bond said.
The former Kiwi speedester gave insights into Salam’s plans in the off-season.
“A player is going to bounce from coach to coach from club to a whole range of different coaches with different opinions. Obviously, I have got things that I feel are going to work for Rasikh, he is going to take that on board and hopefully that helps him in his development. And so does the next coach and the next club until he gets better when he comes back to Mumbai,” Bond asserted.
“It is no doubt that playing games brings up development, when you are playing in this tournament you learn very quickly because you are playing with the best players in the world. So, the number of Indian players now that have come out of the IPL who have really had huge success on the international scene is because of the quality of the competition, the players with massive crowds under huge pressure. So, it prepares you really well for the next level up and hopefully you will see the same for Rasikh as well,” he added.
Bond’s observation about Salam’s composure was echoed by MI director of Cricket Operations, Zaheer Khan.
“I think he is an exciting young prospect who has got a good command over his swing. He is a bright young kid, I liked his temperament. This game was very important for him, he is just a 17-year-old youngster who wants to do well, has got a very good understanding of the game, temperament, all that. So, those are the things which all the coaches were very impressed by and especially Rohit (Sharma) as well. He was thinking of giving him an opportunity as early in the season as possible, so exciting times (ahead),” he said after Sunday’s game.
Zaheer admitted that the element of surprise which Salam brings played a role in his selection.
“He was doing exceptionally well at the camp and mind you, we have someone like Barinder Sran, who is an experienced bowler, who has been bowling well but we wanted to bring that new surprise element as well to the playing XI.
"That’s what our focus was, so everyone is very impressed by how he has been going about his business and in terms of giving him encouragement, when you are playing at this level, it is very important that you stick to your strengths, you know,” he said.
First Published: March 27, 2019, 3:26 PM IST