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Imran Tahir - Will the Titan bow out in Style?

Imran Tahir is about to enter what will hopefully be a closely fought contest against the West Indies. This leg spinner is going to be the key point in the victory of South Africa in the upcoming match.

DT
Last updated: 10.06.2019
Imran Tahir about to take retirement from Cricket | Sports social Blog

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His fitness doesn’t embarrass Olympic gold-winners. He doesn’t save his country from the brink of an economic upheaval. Nor does he reverse any challenges daunting South Africa. But when Imran Tahir takes a wicket and runs with his arms wide open, his hands pumping his chest in jubilation, you feel the world becomes a beautiful place.


You feel some connection to the meaning behind a phrase that may, in this Insta-driven age, seem somewhat forced: Rainbow Nation.


You understand the term “Protea Fire” in every breath of emotion that Tahir’s springy run produces, making the cricketer in him greet the audience that there is. Making the Pakistan-born talent manifest his true meaning, being a South African.

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A land that is accepting. A land that is pure. A land that is sublime, has endured, persisted, struggled, is growing, and one day maybe the enigma it can truly become.


And implicit in this hopeful, very Protean journey rests the career of one of South Africa’s great cricketers, not an icon, but a fighter. Not a superstar, but no less incandescent in his sparkle for Faf du Plessis’ team as is the midnight lantern to the studious little boy.


Imran Tahir, who is currently playing his final World Cup ever, is about to enter what will hopefully be a closely fought contest against the West Indies.


This being South Africa’s fourth World cup fixture thus far, Faf’s men, who’ve lost all three contests against England, Bangladesh, and India respectively will look to make amends.


And what better team to win against than Holder’s men, isn’t it?


But while the fan will reserve his ruling on the anticipated winner, it can be said and unfailingly so that Imran Tahir will give his best, once again.


That’s not only due for the fact that his record against the West Indies inspires envy. Of his 166 ODI wickets, 26 alone have come against the West Indies, who Tahir will be curious to spin a web around, with quintessential daring and guile.


But make no mistake.


Tahir and his team’s possible success could well play down to the fact that from a traditional standpoint, the West Indians haven’t been the greatest players of spin.



That’s if one ignores arguably the best World Cup knock played by a West Indian against the Proteas- Brian Lara’s 111 in the 1996 World Cup where the Prince smashed one and all, including Pollock, Adams and Symcox on way to his dismantling of South Africa.


But who knows whether Tahir will make West Indians fall like ninepins or not, that’s even as he has Shamsi for a company?


Against Hope and should Darren Bravo plays, then against the left-hander, the 40-year-old thespian of leg spin will have his task cut out.


Tempt them to go for the shots, invite them with the flight, deceive the brawny men who often rely on thuds and blasts to fall for the trap, right?


Moreover, let’s not forget that Faf du Plessis’ side will back their veteran leggie, a man who has the experience of having bowled 878 overs thus far in a career that began in 2011.


For those who may be in for some memory refreshing, it’s worthwhile to note that Tahir’s first and foremost successes came against none other than the West Indies and that too, in a major ICC event- the 2011 World Cup.


Several summers ago, when Jason Holder was as distant from captaincy as are Afghanistan from winning the 2019 World Cup, a time where there was no Shai Hope and Kallis was still an active cricketer, Imran Tahir burst on the international scene.


Making his debut in the capital of the world’s largest democracy, in a sport that unifies fans and for the sheer love it commands, often succeeds in blurring geopolitical boundaries, a less-known Imran Tahir, ran through West Indian top and middle order.


And his debut figures suggested- 10-1-41-4.


Not a guy who is scared of being hit for a few breezy hits and heck, there’d be some at the Rose Bowl, should Gayle stay on, Tahir will play how he usually does- being unafraid and with full commitment.


Of course, what might inspire him endlessly and who knows, may bring the lost smile back to where it belongs- on Faf du Plessis’ pleasing face- would be the simple fact that it was against the West Indies that Tahir captured his best-ever figures: that 7 for 45 at Basseterre.


Game on South Africa! Bring your A-game to the fore, Imran Tahir!



Tahir’s ODI records:


Bowled 5265 deliveries. Struck 166 times, including 3 fifers at a healthy economy of 4.6


Of his 166 ODI wickets, 98 have come with the Protean playing overseas, at a strike rate of 31 and average of 24.


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