India in SA
Ford: Tahir a match winner
Durban – Dolphins coach and former South African coach Graham Ford believes that if Imran Tahir is used properly in the South African cricket setup, he could be a match winner.
"The most important quality that he has is that he is incredibly passionate about his cricket. He lives for the game, and no questions will ever need to be asked about his commitment," said Ford at Kingsmead.
Tahir was added to the preliminary World Cup squad on Monday after negotiations took place with the Lions' Jonathan Vandiar to withdraw from the team.
Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson explained the circumstances under which Vandiar was replaced by saying it was done to solidify bowling options within a squad total of 30.
"Jonathan was accommodating and we thank him for understanding the situation and being willing to withdraw from the group," says Hudson.
Tahir, who has taken the most wickets (42) so far in this season's longer format in only five matches, is now virtually a safe bet for the World Cup tournament, which will begin in mid-February on the sub-continent.
"It is a tough start for him against the best players of spin bowling in the world," said Ford about Tahir's international baptism of fire – at the age of 31 – against India.
"But the game has changed so much now that as an aggressive spinner he could be a big factor.'
Batsmen are increasingly taking on bowlers in one day cricket, and it is precisely then when someone like him is at his most dangerous.
"It will be necessary, however, to ensure knowledge which conditions suit him best and where he will be most efficient."
Ford also believes that with all the cricket that will be played, there will be more pitches suitable to a spinner like Tahir.
"I find it hard to believe that he was passed over for the biggest part of last season with the Titans.
“Here at the Dolphins he is one of our most prominent weapons and he performs miracles. The move here has really been very valuable for him."
When asked about being passed over by the Titans, Tahir says he doesn't want to concentrate on negative aspects.
They apparently wanted him to bowl more conservatively and to limit runs, but he didn't want to change his style. He still wanted to bowl aggressively and take wickets, even if it sometimes cost him runs.
"I'm just grateful that I could play with Easterns and got the opportunity to bowl. I'm not readily going to change my aggressive bowling style.
“It will always be tough for any spinner against India, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and will only give my best for my country," said the former Pakistani.