Tahir learns from Qadir
Imran Tahir has left no stone unturned in his quest to have a successful tour of England with the Proteas even turning to legendary Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir for advice.
Leg-spinner Tahir has made a solid, if unspectacular, start to his test career having taken 18 wickets in seven matches at an average of 37.05 but, in his mitigation, he has played the majority of his tests on seamer-friendly wickets.
To put matters in perspective one has to consider that paceman Vernon Philander, who made his test debut in the same match as Tahir, has captured 51 wickets in the same time-span.
Even allowing for just how good Philander has been during that period it does show how the pitches have suited the fast men.
But Tahir is confident that he will be able to make an impression in England, a country where he has spent 12 years playing for various club and county teams, and his confidence has been boosted after spending 11 days in Lahore, Pakistan, working with Qadir who took 236 wickets in his 67-test career.
The Pakistan-born Tahir said that he worked more on the mental side of things with Qadir rather than on technical issues.
“It was really good, he was very helpful,” Tahir told reporters in Durban on Sunday where he was playing for SA ‘A’ against Sri Lanka ‘A’.
“We talked about the variations that I use and when and how to use them, He didn’t tell me to do anything different just how to use what I have got,” he explained.
This year has been Tahir’s first proper off-season in 12 years after a career which saw him turn out in South African domestic cricket before plying his trade in England and he said that he had made good use of the break.
“I’ve been playing full time for 12 seasons so the break has been good. I’ve never put in so much work. I’ve been working really hard on my fitness and on my bowling so hopefully I will be rewarded but the most important thing for me is to do well for South Africa,” he said.
South Africa will play three tests in England with the first test set to start on July 19 at the Oval in London, a ground Tahir said that he was looking forward to bowling at.
“July and August is the best time to bowl (for spinners) in England. I’m really looking forward to the Oval because that is a ground where I might get a bit of extra spin. I have to get into the team first and if I am selected then hopefully I can do my best,” he said.
Tahir said that he had learnt a lot during his brief taste of test cricket and shrugged off criticism that he relied too heavily on his googly, as opposed to bowling more conventional leg-breaks.
“I’ve stayed the same bowler. I am just a bit more patient and cleverer than I used to be. It doesn’t matter if I bowl googlies, leggies, top-spinners, flippers or sliders, I will get rewards if I bowl in the right spots,” he concluded.