Spinball wizard


Imran Tahir, SA’s new super-spin hope, knows why he isn’t more famous even though he has taken wickets wherever he’s played.

He puts it down to culture.

‘‘In Pakistan we revere spinners; South Africa has always produced world-class fast bowlers and batsmen so kids grow up idolising them.’’

The 31-year-old spinmeister who has been playing for the Dolphins moved to SA in 2007 and although Cricket SA assured him he’d be considered for national selection that happened only recently after he gained SA citizenship.

He’s not dismissive of fast bowlers but says there’s more of an art to spin bowling.

"With fast bowlers, line and length are paramount; mess those up and you’ll be smacked around. A spin bowler can vary his deliveries to confuse the batsman.’’

With Imran in the ODI squad the Proteas may have to change tactics. They’ve generally used spinners to hold down the run rate while pacemen are used for attack. Imran sees himself as an attack bowler.

‘‘I don’t want to play boring cricket,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t want to bowl all day, hoping a batsman makes a mistake. I want to get batters out rather than have them give me their wickets.’’

He came to SA in 1997 with the Pakistan Under-19 team. He spotted a pretty girl in the crowd at Kingsmead and was, well, bowled over.

Sumayya recalls, ‘‘I ran into him at the airport. He told security he needed to go back outside to say goodbye to his girlfriend. We swopped numbers and addresses and kept in touch.’’

By 2006 they’d lost contact but then he called while he was playing in England. After that he called her every day for three-hour-long chats.

‘‘He kept saying he wanted to marry me and I kept saying no,’’ she recalls. ‘‘He came to visit in December and I fell in love with him. Seven weeks later we were married.’’

Read all about it in YOU, 20 January 2011.

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