Kirsten has faith in Tahir

2011-11-22 20:44

Johannesburg - Proteas coach Gary Kirsten feels leg-spinner Imran Tahir has the potential to become a decent Test match cricketer.

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Tahir fared much better in the recent Test match against Australia at the Wanderers after a disappointing debut in the first Test at Newlands.

He took three wickets in the first innings and only one in the second, but it was a big wicket for South Africa when he dismissed Usman Khawaja (65) at a time when the Pakistani-born batsman was heading for his maiden Test century.

"Imran definitely got something going that we can all be excited by and he will continue to develop and grow as a Test match cricketer," said Kirsten.

"We all know how different it is coming from first-class level into the international arena because the mental demands are so much bigger."

Kirsten said expectations were much higher at the top level and it was important for newcomers to be given a good run to prove themselves.

"We all expect big performances from them, but sometimes it doesn’t happen straight away.

"They’re all good enough cricketers and they need to know that they’re not being watched every minute of the day and that after two bad performances they’re out.

"I don’t think that’s a healthy environment and we need to let them settle in - some guys it will take longer than others."

When he took over as coach, Kirsten said he was worried about the depth at domestic level, but he was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of talent waiting in the wings.

"The fast-bowling reserves are quite exciting and there are three or four of them who could be knocking on the door," he said.

"It’s very healthy for South African cricket that we have competitiveness with both bat and ball."

South Africa host Sri Lanka in December with the first Test starting in Centurion on December 15.

While it is good news for the domestic franchises to have their international players back for the one-day competition, no further four or five-day cricket will be played before the tour commences.

"I’ve thought of a whole lot of different ways to make sure these guys have got some game time because we’ll have some guys who won’t have played any cricket for three weeks.

"There’s not a whole lot I can do about it. It’s not ideal, but we’ve got to manage what is dished out at us."


  • tuckytatham - 2011-11-22 22:05

    Agreed completely. Imran Tahir will win us test matches in the near future that I am sure of! He has a leggie that turns, a googly as well as a slider. That is a lot more then Paul Harris has in his armoury I can tell you that much. And if someone can tell me that they would rather have Harris in the side be my guest because as far as I am concerned Harris is not what we want from our spinner. People can argue that we have enough strike bowlers in Steyn and Morkel but there is something about having a leg spinner in your side that always gives you an edge.

      Sedick - 2011-11-22 23:32

      Agree. Tahir can win lots of games for us. That is if Smith gives him lots of overs......and knows how to use him - not much evidence of this in the past....

      Gareth - 2011-11-23 00:34

      I agree Tucky, Tahir is a match winner. Harris is there to stem the flow of runs, which works on certain pitches where there is not any turn available. With that being said Imran has taken an enormous amount of first class wickets on our own pitches, not renowned for there appeal to spin so he must be good. The idea must be to win, and that means taking wickets which Imran can do.

  • bernard.ingram - 2011-11-23 08:02

    Just look at his profile on Cricinfo. He never stays in one place for long. This just shows that he has the talent but never lives up to expectation. Exactly what happened in the last test when he could not bowl the Aussies out in the fourth innings. Paul Harris would have contained the Aussies far better and then Smith could have used his fast bowlers in shorter and more effective spells. Instead Tahir went for almost 4 runs an over, very expensive under the circumstances. It is no use having an attacking spinner who bowls too many long hops and cannot take plenty wickets in the fourth innings. Hopefully Tahir will sort this out, as he is probably the best spinner we have played since readmission!

      bernard.ingram - 2011-11-23 10:55

      Seems the "fans" don't understand cricket. Keep un-liking my comment, it just shows your utter lack of understanding test cricket. I'm not against Tahir, just don't hail him as someone that is going to revolutionise the Proteas cricket. I wish for him to be a great bowler, just like you. Un-liking my comment just shows your daftness!

  • tuckytatham - 2011-11-23 11:32

    Azurite, I understand where you coming from and it does make sense. What I would argue and what Gary Kirsten is saying is that he needs an extended run. Paul Harris became the bowler he is because he was afforded the opportunity to play as many games as he did. Maybe this is personal bias but we, as you mentioned, have not had a top class spinner since re-admission and if Tahir is given a chance and the backing of management then he could be our best. I did feel that he was thrown in the deepend right at the end of the test match because no matter how many first class games you play being thrown the ball with 6 runs to win and 2 wickets in hand in your second test match must be incredibly daunting! I wish him all the best, he plays with an incredible amount of passion and hopefully that rubs off on the older guys who seem to be going throught the motions at the moment.

      bernard.ingram - 2011-11-24 06:58

      At least one sane soul out there. I agree with you. Seems most fans don't know a thing about test cricket!

  • Zack - 2011-11-23 11:53

    There is no comparison between Tahir and Harris, no contest, Harris is not good enough

      bernard.ingram - 2011-11-24 07:07

      Really. Funny how Harris has been taking wickets again and is the leading wicket taker in the SS series! Really funny! Give Tahir a go, but just remember that is a bit of a loose-ball.

  • Morne - 2011-11-23 13:46

    Main issue was amount of top order batsman that failed to convert 50's into hundreds on 1st innings at least 2 big centuries would have put us 400 plus and pressure on ozzies!

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