Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Imran Tahir will make ODI debut for South Africa

The Pakistan-born leg spinner, Imran Tahir, is now ready to make his debut in the limited over cricket game for South Africa. He has been named in South Africa’s 14-man squad that will play against India in the five-match ODI series.

He is one of five spinners who have been picked in South African squad in preparation for the World Cup in the subcontinent which will start from February 2011. Titans all-rounder, Faf du Plessis, is another uncapped player who has also been picked in the squad. Other three spinners are Johan Botha, JP Duminy and Robin Peterson.

Imran Tahir was supposed to make his test debut in January last year as he was picked in South Africa’s Test squad to face England in the fourth Test. Though he is a talented bower, he could not make his debut as he was found ineligible to play for South Africa because he did not have the required residency permit despite being married to a South African.

This problem has been solved now. So, there is no obstacle that can prevent him from making his debut for South Africa. Despite Cricket South Africa intervened to speed up the process, he got the permission to play for the national team almost a year later, on New Year's Day 2011.

The 31-year-old player is a wrist spinner which is perhaps the one missing element in South Africa’s bowling attack. However, he was widely hyped to fill the role.

He has very good form in the MTN40 competition of this season where he has taken 15 wickets at an average of 17.00 in nine matches. He has played in 96 List A matches where he has taken 140 wickets at an average of 22.74.

He made his first-class career in 1996-97 and has racked up at least 10 teams ranging from Lahore to Yorkshire via the Titans in South Africa. In his 128 first-class matches, he has taken 547 wickets at an average of 24.93.

However, he is not part of South Africa’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad. But his selection for India series gives him green signal to get chance in the world cup squad. It depends on his performance in the upcoming ODI series being held in South Africa.

South African captain, Graeme Smith, is very happy to get him in the ODI squad.

South Africa ODI squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.