Imran Tahir keen to polish the diamonds on the soles of his boots
With Imran Tahir’s season yet to begin his wicket column is empty as a pocket with nothing to lose. But he knows there’s only one way to lose those bowling blues.
“I’m obviously not here to buy diamonds: I’m here to play for the Proteas with honour‚” Tahir said on Thursday in — you guessed it‚ Paul Simon fans — Kimberley.
His seventh South African summer as an international player starts there on Sunday in the first of three one-day internationals against Bangladesh.
That would be the same Bangladesh who were thrashed by 333 runs and an innings and 254 runs in the test series.
But don’t expect them to disappear down Kimberley’s Big Hole quite as easily as their form on this tour would suggest‚ what with star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan back from the break that kept him out of the tests.
Not that Tahir was too fussed about exactly who might be in the visitors’ line-up.
“It’s not just another game for me‚ I’m really serious about the series‚” he said.
“We’re playing against an international team. You can’t just come and wave your arms and beat them.
“They proved that in the Champions Trophy (in England in June)‚ where they qualified for the semis.”
That attitude is part of what has made Tahir the world’s top bowler in the format‚ no mean feat for an itinerant 38-year-old leg spinner.
“I’m very lucky to play for the Proteas out of 50-million people‚” he said.
“I love cricket. It’s my life‚ and I want to give everything for South Africa.”
Tahir has been saying much the same thing since he made his debut against West Indies in Delhi at the 2011 World Cup. The tournament clearly remains an important spark plug in his engine.
“If we’re looking towards the World Cup we need to play really hard cricket‚” he said. “This will be a good platform for the World Cup.”
A World Cup that is‚ mind‚ still almost two years away. But already thoughts are turning to England in 2019.
“We need to win all the games (leading up to the tournament)‚” Tahir said‚ then he rephrased: “Winning or losing doesn’t matter as long as you try your best and cover all the areas you need to.”
Whatever. South Africans will be happy as long as he keeps bowling with diamonds on the soles of his boots.