Dubai: Chennai Super Kings’ South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir’s celebrations after taking a wicket is a reflection of the joy with which he plays the game. On Wednesday night, Tahir celebrated the four wickets that pushed Delhi Capitals to woe.
Guided by legendary captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Tahir wrecked the Delhi batting line-up to return with figures of 4-12 from his 3.2 overs. The enthusiasm with which he celebrated would never make anyone believe he was a 40-year-old cricketer.
Tahir sprints towards the boundary with arms spread wide whenever he takes a wicket and then gives out a roar like a lion. In this IPL, fortunately he has reduced the distance of his sprint, maybe taking into consideration that the over rate has to be maintained, otherwise his captain may land up with a huge fine.
In an interview years ago, Tahir revealed that once while playing in England at the Stoke ground in a club game, he celebrated and ran out of the ground and had to struggle to find his way back to the ground.
Tahir embodies sheer enjoyment while playing cricket. This reporter was fortunate to witness his One Day International debut for South Africa against West Indies in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi. Like Wednesday night, then too he bagged four wickets to assure South Africa a seven-wicket win. His style of celebration wasn’t a talking point at that time.
By the time Tahir came to UAE for the one-day series against Pakistan in 2013, Tahir’s style of celebration had become famous and even the Pakistan fans loved it. Born in Lahore before migrating to South Africa, he played for Sui Gas Corporation of Pakistan and Water and Power Development Authority teams in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. That fact that Tahir enjoys the game and loves to celebrate his moments of success is evident from the number of teams he has represented in different parts of the world.
Another reason for his exuberant celebrations could be his rise from humble beginnings. As the eldest sibling he had to work from the age of 16 to support his family and had even worked as a salesman at a shopping mall in Pakistan. It was cricket that lifted him to where he is today. He moved to England and though the earnings from club cricket wasn’t much, he continued to play with enthusiasm. He landed in South Africa at a time when there was a dearth of spinners there. For two years he struggled in South Africa’s domestic cricket, but worked hard on his skills to make a mark.
Today fans around the world love to celebrate with him as he reaps the rewards of his success.