Aussies preparing for Imran Tahir, says Ponting

2011-11-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Australian batsman Ricky Ponting said they are preparing to face Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir in the first Test at Newlands today.

“We expect Tahir to play and we have already been preparing as though we will come up against him,” said Ponting, the former Australian captain.

There has been widespread discussion recently about whether the Proteas will play Tahir or pick Paul Harris.

Harris has in the past mostly been used more as a “stop bowler” to keep the runs down, which allows the South Africans to rotate and rest their main strike bowlers from one end.

However, he’s not a threat as a wicket taker and the Proteas have failed to bowl teams out in the fourth innings of Test matches when Harris was utilised.

Tahir was impressive when he played for South Africa at the Cricket World Cup in India earlier this year — when he claimed 14 wickets.

And Ponting believes the game at Newlands is the perfect opportunity for South Africa to let the Pakistan-born Tahir loose in the Test arena.

“He is a world-class leg-spinner and it looks as though the conditions here will suit him,” said Ponting.

Australian captain Michael Clarke said, “He’s a very good bowler and a wicket-taker and if he was in my team, I would definitely pick him.”

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