A Pakistani leg-spinner to play for Proteas

February 19th, 2009 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 19 (IANS) South Africa will soon have a Pakistani leg spinner in their side to strengthen their spin department.
The leg spinner Imran Tahir is a prodigious turner of the ball, and Proteas coach Mickey Arthur, admitted that wrist spin is the one missing link in his otherwise powerful unit and can rush Tahir into the international arena during Australia’s tour of the Rainbow Nation.

Tahir, 29, has come via Lahore and is likely to be included in the side when he becomes eligible for his adopted country after a four-year wait since marrying a South African woman. And that happens on April 1, just before the one-day series against Australia.

More immediately, he will represent the South African Board President’s XI against the tourists in Potchefstroom from Friday.

“He will give us an option we’ve never really had,” Arthur was quoted as saying Sydney Morning Herald. “He’s a high-quality leg spinner. I’m excited about having him with us. If you look at our team, probably the one component that has been missing all the way through has been this kind of bowler.

“He’s gone through all the processes, he’s been playing domestically here for about three years, he married a South African girl, and he’s about to become a naturalised South African. He’s going to be an invaluable contributor.

“Australia have had Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill, but we’ve never had that. In the right conditions, it will be a whole new domain for us.”

Tahir, 29, has 307 first-class wickets at 24.88. He was on the verge of Test selection in 2005 when he represented Pakistan A, but had to reject Pakistan selection for four years before South Africa could get their hands on him.

“We go to the subcontinent this year, and Imran could play a big role for this team while we keep chasing the goal we have set ourselves,” Arthur said.

“We used to follow Australia, but we want people to start following us. That’s our next challenge. We want this to be the beginning of something, not the end.”

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