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May 29, 2012
Abdul Qadir, the former Pakistan legspinner, has said he rues the fact that the Lahore-born Imran Tahir went on to play for South Africa and not Pakistan. Tahir had met Qadir in Lahore on Tuesday, and will remain in Pakistan for the rest of the week, for personalised training sessions in preparation for South Africa's tour of England in July.
The pair had worked on increasing the variations in Tahir's bowling. "He is here to enhance his variations, and sought my guidelines regarding the finger googly and using flight as a weapon," Qadir told ESPNcricinfo. "He is very keen to learn more and I love to help him, because he applies what I teach him. I have only shared the googly information with him and Shahid Afridi."
Qadir is confident of Tahir making an impression in England. "England [have always] struggled against spin bowling a lot, but once it comes to their home conditions, they are good. I have shared my past experiences with Tahir, told him how to counter English batsman in their own conditions … I am optimistic that he will make an impact with his improved bowling."
Tahir, who has played seven Tests for South Africa, played cricket in Pakistan from 1996 to 2006. "My relations with Imran aren't something new," Qadir said. "I've know this boy since he was playing in the Under-19 team here; he had tremendous talent and I was urging the [Pakistan] board to try him. I still regret not having this boy in Pakistan colours, but I am proud of him."
Tahir was once part of the Pakistan A team and was one of the popular legspinners on the Pakistani domestic circuit in 90s. He was team-mates with Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq in 1996, in the Under-19 squad that played against England and Australia.
"He has played an ample amount of cricket in Pakistan, it's unfortunate that we couldn't have him playing for Pakistan," Qadir said. "He was so hardworking and a good learner, and always wanted to play cricket on the big stage. He eventually got there, where he always wanted to get.
"This is not the first time he has come up to me for tips, he was consistently in touch with me and always visits me when he is here in Lahore."
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