Cricket World Cup 2011
Tahir: Pakistan's big loss
Imran Tahir (AFP)
Nagpur – Imran Tahir is the Proteas’ gain and Pakistan’s loss – and a big loss at that, according to the country’s former selection chief.
Wasim Bari, who represented Pakistan in 81 tests and 51 one-day matches as wicketkeeper, revealed on Monday that 31-year-old Tahir had still featured in their selection committee’s plans a few years ago.
Tahir, who was born in Lahore and is married to a South African, received citizenship at the end of 2010 and made his debut for the Proteas in their first World Cup match against the West Indies in Delhi.
He has already taken 11 wickets in just three matches and is the second leading wicket-taker at the World Cup thus far.
Only Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain and legspinner (with 14 wickets), has achieved more success.
Tahir has also equalled a world record for taking the most wickets in his first three one-day internationals. The fact that he had represented Pakistan A and never played for the national side meant he was available to South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl.
“It’s a great pity that Imran was previously the victim of politics in Pakistani cricket,” said Bari.
“There is no doubt that he was old enough then to play for the country, but certain decision-makers just did not like him. They did not like his attitude, hairstyle and even the manner in which he celebrated taking wickets.”
Tahir’s celebrations have to date been a source of much entertainment for team-mates and South African supporters.
Meanwhile, Robin Peterson has told Sport24 that his impressive bowling performance could not make up for the Proteas’ defeat to England.
The left-arm spinner returned impressive figures of 3/22. “I’m satisfied with how I’m bowling, but it was really bad to lose,” said Peterson.