Cricket - Imran
Imran Tahir (left), back in Dubai for IPL 2021 campaign, with Anis Sajan. Image Credit: Supplied photo

It was an absolute pleasure to have a chat with South Africa’s veteran leg spinner Imran Tahir, who has been a part of the Chennai Super Kings squad since 2018 till now.

My very first question to him was about being a part of the team headed by ‘Captain Cool,’ to which he said that he was amazed by the humbleness of M.S. Dhoni - especially the warm welcome that he extended on joining the team. Tahir went on to talk about how he gels well with the family members of his team as well.

Recollecting one such incident, he revealed how during a race between his son Gibran and Shane Watson’s son, Dhoni helped his son in winning it by lifting him up and running to the finish line.Not only Dhoni, but the whole CSK team functions as a family where even the players’ spouses and children are taken care of well. He feels that CSK is one of the best teams he has played for in franchise cricket.

What separates CSK from other franchises? Tahir attributes the team’s success to the top management but most importantly, to Captain Dhoni, as he doesn’t put pressure on the players during the game. He believes that this has helped the team to play well as they are not under any performance anxiety, but are rather told to enjoy the game, which definitely eases the pressure.

All the players are equally respectful of each other and the whole team celebrates the victory together, including the young ones who haven’t been on field, which sets a good example for these young players who are the future stars of the team. All in all, he applauds the professionalism and the team culture of CSK.

The chat could not be complete without talking about the heartbreaking defeat for them in 2019 final to Mumbai Indians. Tahir said it could have been won easily, but it was so-near-yet-so-far. Nevertheless, the team took it as a learning process and moved on.

When the team was back in the tournament as Chennai Super Kings in 2018 after a two-year ban, they were called the ‘Oldies.’ However, they proved everyone wrong by winning the title that year - all because of the team’s professionalism and belief in its players.

His latest feat was a hattrick for Birmingham Phoenix over Welsh Fire in the Hundreds tournament played in England. He has proved that age is just a number and even at the age of 42, he still has the same energy he had 10 years ago - which can be seen when he takes the victory lap every time after taking a wicket!

Cricket enthusiast and businessman Anis Sajan is Vice Chairman of Danube Group