Proteas inspired by Tahir
Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)
Bangalore – Imran Tahir has not just boosted
the Proteas’ hopes of winning the World Cup, but also brought the best out of
The 31-year-old left-arm spinner admitted to
Sport24 on Thursday that Tahir’s meteoric rise over the last few months had
fired him and third spinner Johan Botha up.
“I enjoy bowling with him and Johan because
we are learning a lot from each other. Imran and I are a similar age and he is
undoubtedly playing the best cricket of his career. Hopefully I can say the
same after the tournament,” said Peterson.
Tahir, a born Pakistani, got South African
citizenship at the end of 2010. He got his first chance in the Green and Gold
in the World Cup warm-up match against Zimbabwe. He grabbed it with both hands
by taking three wickets and also impressing in the warm-up game against
Even so, Peterson has been the tour squad’s
leading wicket-taker with five, among them three of the world champions’
Peterson, whose place in the side has always
been questioned since his debut more than eight years ago, believes his recent
success is down to the new-found faith of the Proteas in their slow bowlers.
“It has taken South Africa long to embrace
spinners as an attacking weapon in one-day cricket, but it has finally
happened,” he said.
After just 40 appearances over that period
and all but impressive figures on the world stage, his inclusion in the squad
for this year’s World Cup has again raised eyebrows.
However, Peterson has learned to take the
criticism on the chin.
“I don’t play for my critics, but for my country
and the people who have always believed in me. It’s not my fault that I was not
in the starting team more often. I could never really relax and be myself
because I always had to wonder whether I would play in the next game,” he said.
That has all changed since his return to the
side in October – after more than three years in the wilderness.
“I have decided to do things my way – to try
and turn the ball as much as possible and get wickets. I don’t expect to take
five wickets every time, but I try to bowl at a good length because that always
gives you a chance of getting the batsman out.”