Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13 February 27, 2013

Imran Tahir to stake claim for ODIs


Imran Tahir appears to be back into limited-overs contention for South Africa after he was included in the Invitation XI to play Pakistan in a fifty-over warm-up match next Wednesday. The team will be led by Lions' captain Stephen Cook and consists largely of players from the Lions and Dolphins franchises as the rest will be busy playing domestic twenty-over matches.

Tahir appeared in 5 ODIs during the 2011 World Cup and was South Africa's second-most successful bowler with 14 wickets, but he has not played since. Instead, Johan Botha and Robin Peterson tussled over the premier spinners' role that eventually went Peterson's way when Botha relocated to Australia last September.

Peterson has since shared the role with Lions' left-armer Aaron Phangiso who excelled at the Champions League T20. Tahir's role has been limited to Tests but even there, he has lost out to Peterson.

After playing 11 Tests for South Africa including tours of New Zealand, England and Australia, Tahir was dropped following a drubbing in Adelaide. He was taken for 260 runs and went wicketless. He has since been playing the domestic game to regain form and confidence.

At the Lions' franchise, Tahir plays an important senior role, which was evident in the way he made his comeback in the domestic one-day cup final. Although it was washed out, Tahir took two wickets in two overs and has been a regular in the T20 campaign as well. He may see this as another chance to stake a claim for a comeback especially as both his List A and Twenty20 averages are lower than his first-class average.

Other notable names in the XI are the IPL's latest rich-kid Chris Morris who will also feature in South Africa's T20 squad and wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock who was dropped from the ODI squad but remains part of the plans.

"This match provides opportunities for players to show what they can do at a higher level and also to enjoy the special experience of playing against an international team. We have seen a number of players taking advantage of matches both for South Africa A and the Invitation sides to earn places in the national set-up," Vincent Barnes, coach of the Invitation side and manager of the High Performance Programme said.

"You don't have to look further than Kyle Abbott for a good example of this. It is really heartening to see the excited feedback I get from players when they are offered this opportunity." Abbott played against Pakistan in their four-day warm-up match and took seven wickets that earned him a Test call up.

SA Invitation XI: Stephen Cook (capt), Craig Alexander, Temba Bavuma, Cody Chetty, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, Jean Symes, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Hardus Viljoen Lizaad Williams

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rob on February 28, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    How SA miss Botha - Tahir has never been an ODI bowler. It's time to move onto the next generation. Would Harmer be the best choice in the shorter forms of the game ?

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    @kinglsand: If Nasir and Afridi stand on their wickets it will make things a lot eaiser for SA. Anyway, as a SA supporter I'd love to see Afridi in the playing XI. He is out of form and well past his best.

  • ramdin on February 27, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    he is a waste of space,he can't succeed against the Asian teams as they play mediocre spinner like him very very well.

  • Duncan on February 27, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    @OnlyTestsMatter love the comment, for the most part we do not mind our exports. Botha loss kind of hurt, others were kids when they left. Just KP bugs me because he made as if he had been overlooked in sa, but really he only developed later.

  • Hakoon on February 27, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    I think SA are missing a real trick by not having Tahir on the ODI team considering his amazing stats in the 5 ODI's he has played. Peterson should be the No.1 choice in tests and Tahir should be in the ODI team!

  • zaf on February 27, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    PAK TEAM will perform better in ODI/T20. If Nasir & Afridi stands on wicket then results will be in PAK favor.

  • Anupam on February 27, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    South Africa's handling of spinners in the last two years has been questionable. Botha who started as a average bowler had raised his level by several notches and by the end of 200, he was SA's premier spinner in shorter formats and looked good to move to the test matches. Add his batting and his leadership skills, he was identified to be the captain in short formats, and Botha was on an upswing. Then Tahir happened getting SA excited. Somewhere in b/w Peterson came into picture and was somehow promoted even though he was lower done the pecking order. It was surprising to see all these 3 spinners playing in world cup. Tahir played brilliantly but never played ODI's again (?) but got exposed. Botha meanwhile from being a captain, lost his place in all formats and now is out of contention for playing for SA. Peterson was pushed and pushed and finally now has started performing and earning his place. Never understood what happened here, Firdose may be you should write an article on this!

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2013, 15:16 GMT

    @mzm149, we have much better batsmen in domestic circuit than several people in the squad. Why don't they get selected? Same goes for the seamers. Tanvir plays a test yet again, but Sadaf Hussein, Anwar Ali, and Mohammad Talha are constantly ignored. Raza Hassan is mysteriously injured, and Afridi gets called up again. Not sure what Afridi has done since being dropped to show he's back in form? Why do we need another spinner in SA anyway? Shouldn't Hammad Azam or Abdul Razzaq be in the squad as all rounders?

  • Akshay on February 27, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Its time the SA selectors look beyond Tahir as there are enough spin options available at home - Eddie Leie, Dale Deeb,Simon Harmer,Dane Piedt and Siya Simetu can be groomed for the future .

  • Muhammad on February 27, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    If Imran Tahir is included in ODI squad that is a good news for Pakistan because: i). Inclusion of second spinner means there will be assistance for spin bowlers from the pitches. ii). Tahir is not at all capable enough to trouble Pakistan. If he were in Pakistan team he would never have been selected in any game because we have much better spinners than him.

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