JOHANNESBURG July 2 Sapa
TAHIR GETS PRACTICE
Imran Tahir gained some much-needed bowling practice on Monday ahead of the Proteas tour to England starting next week, with South Africa A captain Faf du Plessis confident the leg-spinner will improve as the season progresses.
The 33-year-old finished with three for 82 in an unchanged spell of 22.4 over at Kingsmead in Durban, where the hosts concluded an innings and eight run victory over Sri Lanka A, after tea on the third-day of the four-day first test match.
Tahir, who was not needed to bowl in the first innings after the seamers claimed all 10 wickets, was having his first run-out since spending time in his country of birth, Pakistan.
"Imran is a 'gun' in any bowling attack so I gave him the ball in the 17th or 18th over and said 'just go out and bowl'," Du Plessis said.
"Hes really confident in his bowling and he came to me and said its really coming out nicely and hes really happy with where he is at.
"Im happy he picked up a couple of wickets at the end there. He did bowl well; at the beginning there were a lot of plays and misses, but he got a couple of wickets."
Batting first the tourists made 170, with South Africa declaring on 425 for six. In the second innings the visitor's were dismissed for 247.
"My plan was to give him a go in the first innings, but we shot them out in 41 overs so it as a little bit tough," Du Plessis explained.
"But it was important for myself just to give him a run in the second innings because I had the bigger picture for him in mind as well.
"It was very easy to bring back the seamers, but I wanted to give him the rest of the day to bowl to get more comfortable.
"Because that really is what the SA A side is there for, to prepare guys for England and help them get ready.
"As a leg spinner, the more you bowl the more confident you get, so time in the middle is really important for him. So those 20 overs he got today will really give him confidence for England."
Tahir, who will now link up with the rest of senior team, has yet to realise his potential in the test arena having taken a mere 18 wickets in seven tests on mainly seamer-friendly wickets.
He is still expected to play a key role for the Proteas in England, where has had previous spells in county cricket with Hampshire, Middlesex, Warwickshire and Yorkshire.