'My Proteas dream not over'
Proteas discard Imran Tahir insists there is “no chance” of throwing in the towel and giving up on his international ambitions after another lethal display with the ball for the bizhub Highveld Lions over the past weekend.
The leg-spinner displayed superb form by taking 12-106 in 51.1 overs as the Johannesburg franchise wrapped up a convincing 252-run victory over the Sunfoil Dolphins in Durban.
Tahir was axed by the national selectors for the current series against New Zealand following his horror show against Australia in Adelaide during November.
Playing in his 11th test for the Proteas, he conceded a mammoth 180 runs in 23 wicketless first innings overs, before again failing to take a wicket second time around when he went for 80 in 14 overs.
“There is no chance that I’ll give up (on getting back in the Proteas side),” Tahir said after his man-of-the-match display against the Dolphins.
“Every game is very special for me and is taken very seriously.
“I’m still very hungry. I don’t want to sit at home and dwell too much on one bad match. I want to give 100 per cent and try and get another opportunity.”
Tahir, who took 7-64 and 5-42 against the Dolphins for his 46th and 47th career five-wicket hauls respectively, does admit that a return may take some time with his immediate focus being on getting back to his best with the Lions.
“I think I just have to keep on doing things like I’ve done in this game,” he explained. “I’m not looking that far ahead too much. My aim is just to do well in first-class cricket again.
“This is the step where I need to prove myself once more before I want to go back there (to international level).
“I’ve been told I need to do that by the coaches and selectors. I am not one to shy away and say I wasn’t wrong. I admit I didn’t bowl well. I went for more than six or seven to the over in a test match, which wasn’t great.
“Why it happened, I’m not sure. I’d never played in Australia before, it was a very flat wicket, but still I didn’t bowl well and for that I need to go back to first-class level.
“I understand what happened, it is my fault.”
Tahir’s high economy rate was heavily criticised after his last test, while his no-ball problem – he bowled seven at the Adelaide Oval – was also among the issues raised.
Since his return to the Lions, both problems have seemingly been fixed with an economy of less than three and no no-balls bowled.
“I had a few issues with no-balls and economy rate,” he said. “Those are things I want to sort out.
“The coaches here Geoff (head coach Geoffrey Toyana) and Gordon (bowling chief Gordon Parsons) have been very helpful with those things.
“So I’m very grateful to them because it’s also been their hard work that has helped.”
However, his international absence will in all likelihood be a lengthy one considering that Robin Peterson has filled his boots with excellence.
But he is not ready to give up.
“If I keep taking five-fors and keep knocking on the door, then why not (believe)?
“Whether they (the selectors) pick me or not is up to them. It’s their job. My job is to do well and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on.
“It’s not the end of the world to have had one bad game. Hopefully I’ll get another chance.”