Imran Tahir World Cup 2019
Free spirit: South Africa's Imran Tahir celebrates taking England's Jonny Bairstow's wicket during the 2019 ICC World Cup. Image Credit: AFP File

Dubai: Imran Tahir may be now 42, but the Pakistan-born South African leg spinner is still one of the sought after names in franchise cricket. Soon after completing his season with Chennani Super Kings in their successful season in the IPL 2021, the veteran is now bracing up to turn out for Northern Warriors in the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10 League later this month.

He may not be a part of the national squad anymore, but is following the action in the UAE keenly and is happy at the role members of his trade had been playing in the World T20. ‘‘It’s lovely to see the roles Tabraiz Shamsi, Rashid Khan and Adel Rashid are playing for their country,’’ Tahir said during a zoom interaction with selected media hosted by the T10 League.

While the trio are among his favourite leg spinners at the moment, Tahir said he was also missing India’s Yuzvendra Chahal in action during the World Cup. ‘‘He is another crafty bowler and I thought I would see him in action in this World Cup as well,’’ he said.


Tahir, who made his mark in the 2011 ICC World Cup in India where he ended up as their second highest wicket-taker, has been at hand to watch the transformation in the white ball game over the last decade and more. A major shift in the teams’ thought process had been the growing role of wrist spinners and a testimony of it the other day was during the England-Australia game, Eoin Morgan got Rashid and Liam Livingstone to operate in tandem while holding back his main off spinner Moeen Ali.

Asked for his take on the subject, the man whose trademark celebrations after a wicket has brought joy to fans worldwide, said: ‘‘See, leg spinners and chinaman bowlers can change the game very quickly. I remember being part of a match for South Africa when our rivals were cruising at 96 for no loss in chasing 160-odd when I managed to get a few breakthroughs. Unbelievable as it was but we managed to win the game.’’

Replying to a question if the T20 format, or the T10 League, had been a game for youngsters, Tahir felt he was happy that the perception has changed over the years. ‘‘The biggest example is this Chennai team. The average age of our team is 32 years and still, we won the biggest franchise league twice in the last four years. Experience matters in this game,’’ he said.

Warriors, his team in Abu Dhabi T10, has a number of other distinguished white ball specialists on their roster like England allrounders Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali - with Jordan being the icon player of the team. Asked what their forthcoming campaign, Tahir observed: ‘‘The result is not in our hands. My aim as a bowler would be keep things tight in my quota of overs as this will allow others to pick up the wickets.’’