How Imran Tahir bowls them out

2012-09-25 11:44

Imran Tahir has become a household name with his exuberance and boisterous celebrations after taking a wicket.

Paul Adams, above, the newly appointed coach of the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras and a former wrist-spinner who represented South Africa in 45 Tests, reveals Imran’s secret.

1. Confidence at play

Imran has represented South Africa in eight Tests, taking 22 scalps, and captured 630 first-class wickets in 151 matches.

To be able to perform at the highest level in a technique such as wrist spin, you have to have energy and self-belief. Imran has that, plus enthusiasm to perform and a desire to prove he is the best.

2. A triple threat

There are three bowling variations that make Imran difficult to handle: the leg-spin ball, the googly and the flipper.

He camouflages these variations well, so batsmen can’t easily detect which one is his stock delivery.

Since he is so difficult to read, batsmen can’t advance down the wicket, as they might be stumped or they could end up spooning a catch to mid-wicket or extra cover.

3. Mister delivery

His stock delivery is the leg-spin ball that spins from the right-handed batsman’s middle stump to his
off-stump.

Imran sometimes bowls it with a bit of drift through the air, which moves the ball from the middle stump to the leg stump, and then it bounces and turns to the off-stump.

He bowls it mostly on a very tough length, and this creates doubt in the batsman’s mind whether to go forwards or backwards.

4. When wrong is right
The googly, or wrong one, is bowled from the back of the hand and turns more than his traditional
leg-spin delivery.

It is very difficult to read it from his hand. It turns from the middle stump to the ­right-handed batsman’s leg stump.

In the first Test at the Oval against England in July, the left-handed opening batsman Andrew Strauss could not read Imran’s googly and he was defeated by it when he attempted a sweep from the rough and was caught at square leg.

5. The sneaky move

Most batsmen think the flipper is his traditional leg-spin ball, since Imran bowls it so well. He delivers it from the front of the hand and squeezes it out with his fingers.

Initially, it looks as if the ball is going to be very short; most batsmen think they can rock back to cut the ball, but then find out it is quite full.

The ball also doesn’t turn from middle to off. Instead, it’s bowled with a flatter trajectory and slides and skids straight through, trapping the batsman leg before wicket or bowled.

6. Setting it up

Imran usually bowls a series of leg-spin balls and plays the waiting game before using his other two deliveries.

When he bowls on a good length, he sets up the batsman before throwing in a googly or a flipper that’s not detected.

He bowled with excellent control in the Test at the Oval and, with his three for 63 in 32 overs in the second innings, made a pivotal contribution to South Africa’s win by an innings and 12 runs.

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