Tahir needs time to settle
Watching the South Africa bowling attack operate in the recently concluded test match series against England was pretty exciting because they were sure to make something happen just about all the time.
My interest in how both the England and Proteas attack would go was heightened by the shouts heard from many an England supporter that they had the best attack in the world. I found it rather strange that when English folk spoke about the best bowler in the world they would not refer to the rankings but were quite happy to do so when looking to point out the best team.
I suppose one ought to understand it really as fans offer patriotic views rather than objective ones. I reckon that 'little' debate was sorted out once and for all at The Oval during that first test match when only two Proteas wickets fell and 20 England wickets went down!
While it is the fast bowlers, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, that I enjoy watching most, it is Imran Tahir whom I have had most conversations about in the last little while. A few people are saying that he ought not to be in the team as he does not quite do enough. Well, while I will be the first to suggest that he could do more in the side, I do not think it is justified to say that the guy should be out of the team completely. He worked hard to get into the Proteas side and deserves his chance.
There needs to be an understanding that Tahir requires time to grow into the role that he plays in South Africa’s potent bowling attack. I would proffer also that he has done an adequate job in the team thus far, of course that is in my own view. I feel that the expectation is for him to run through sides because he is a leg spinner and was seen as a more attacking option when selected ahead of his predecessor, Paul Harris.
It takes time to figure things out, especially when dealing with the tough art of leg spin. At present, I feel that the test is very much a mental one for Tahir and he is trying to deal with the high expectations and also the fact that the fast bowlers continually blow every batting lineup away. When they don’t, attention shifts to him and so he seems to me to try and do too much. Just how much time settling will take, I do not know but so far he has done a decent job of backing the seamers up.
It’s worth noting that 12 of his tally of 26 wickets so far have been out-and-out batsmen which is a good ratio for someone viewed as the guy who mops up the tail. Something that cannot be disputed is how efficiently he has mopped up the tails of the various teams he’s played against. One wants to bring something to the party and this is undoubtedly what Tahir has brought to the Proteas set-up -- and it is valuable.
His reselection to the one-day international team is an interesting move and my hope is that he does comes to realise that he does not have to try to “make things happen” with every ball he bowls. Accuracy in limited overs bowling is important and with batsmen having to score runs, keeping them quiet produces wickets. Tahir focusing on that will make him try to string dots together and be that little bit more patient and hopefully more successful too.
We’ll just have to wait and see if he gets a game with the weather that’s about in England.