Australia in SA

Tahir completes epic journey

2011-11-09 14:23
Imran Tahir (Gallo)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – If playing at Test level remains the ultimate goal for most ambitious cricketers even in this age of lucrative counter-attractions, then Imran Tahir can look back on some particularly hard yards to reaching that landmark.

The Dolphins leg-spinner and Cape Cobras all-rounder Vernon Philander on Wednesday became South Africa’s first debutants since Lonwabo Tsotsobe was introduced to the five-day international arena against West Indies at Port of Spain in June last year.

Aged rather closer to 33 than 32, Lahore-born Tahir, who has already represented the Proteas with some success in ODIs at the last World Cup, can certainly be said to have earned his spurs in first-class combat.

His “major teams” list on Cricinfo is a more formidable one than most, now comprising as many as 20 with the addition of South Africa.

He has also bowled as many as 27,345 deliveries in first-class cricket en route to reaching the highest level against Australia at Newlands, since his appearance on the scene in 1996/97.

Tahir boasts 585 wickets at an average of 25.18 and economy rate of 3.23 which is extremely decent for an exponent of his tricky art.

His suitcase has been delivered, as it were, to various destinations since his grassroots days in Pakistan, including three English counties and as many South Africans provinces/franchises – Easterns, the Titans and most recently his current base of the Dolphins.

He is also the first specialist leg-spinner to be fielded by South Africa at Newlands since Glen Hall as far back as January 1965 against England – it was the Pretoria-born player’s only Test appearance and he later committed suicide in 1987, aged 49.


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