Imran Tahir, South Africa bowler, World Cup 2019 Player Full Profile: Variety makes leggie Tahir key bowler at showpiece event

Although capable of a range of wrist spinner’s deliveries, the sharpest tool in Tahir's shed is his googly — which he bowls more often than the rest, and which turns more acutely.

Telford Vice, May 16, 2019 13:53:20 IST

Not many cricketers have turned out for 29 different teams in five countries and been capped by three counties, but Pakistan-born Imran Tahir isn’t like many cricketers. In the first place, he came to South Africa not to play cricket but to be with the woman who is now his wife. And he did so when the country’s captains tended to regard spin bowling as an evil that probably wasn’t necessary except, perhaps, to squeeze in an extra over before tea.

Imran Tahir, South Africa bowler, World Cup 2019 Player Full Profile: Variety makes leggie Tahir key bowler at showpiece event

File image of South Africa’s Imran Tahir. Reuters

But South African captains and batsmen had also never before seen a spinning strike bowler, and in January 2010 Tahir was picked for the Test series against England. Except that someone hadn’t done their homework and it was discovered that he wasn’t a South African citizen and was thus ineligible. That had been sorted out by the 2011 World Cup, where Tahir’s 14 scalps made him South Africa’s second-highest wicket-taker. 

His Test debut, against Australia at Newlands in November 2011, proved a portent for his career path. Tahir bowled only 10 overs in the first innings and none in the second — which was all over in 18 overs, seven of them bowled by fellow debutant Vernon Philander, who took 5/15 to help rout the Australians for 47 in dream swing bowling conditions.

Tahir is an invariably furiously busy person on the field, and he struggled to cultivate the patience required to succeed in the slowest format. His serious pretensions to being South Africa’s go-to Test spinner ended in Perth in November 2012 when he endured match figures of 0/260, the most expensive yet recorded, and suffered the indignity of having Ed Cowan caught off what turned out to be a no-ball. He has since played nine more Tests — eight in sub-continent conditions and the other at St George’s Park, South Africa’s slowest surface.

No such limitations have had to be applied to his white-ball career. He is unquestionably South Africa’s first-choice spinner and was again their second-most successful bowler at the 2015 World Cup, despite the less favourable Australasian conditions.

Although capable of a range of wrist spinner’s deliveries, the sharpest tool in his shed is his googly — which he bowls more often than the rest, and which turns more acutely.

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Updated Date: May 16, 2019 13:53:20 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254