Imran Tahir: World Cricket's Bowler of the Month, October 2013

Antoinette Muller@mspr1ntFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Imran Tahir of South Africa bowls during day four of the Second Test Match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on November 25, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Imran Tahir returned to Test cricket in emphatic style—and that's not a reference to his over-zealous celebrations

Almost a year after conceding 260 runs without a wicket against Australia last November, Tahir returned, taking eight for 130 in Dubai to eventually help South Africa achieve victory by an innings and 92 runs. A five-for in the first innings saw Pakistan collapse to 99 all out, as a combination of a disappointing Pakistan and a cunning Tahir helped the visitors get stuck in.

He put in an equally fine performance in South Africa's first ODI against Pakistan, taking three for 45 as the Proteas managed to win by just one run. 

Tahir never thought his career would be over after the Adelaide disaster, but he knew it would take hard work to get back to where he was. He went back to the drawing board and put in the hard yards in domestic cricket. He still showed some of his old flaws—losing patience too quickly and often following up a brilliant googly with a full toss—but all he needed was for his teammates to believe in him. 

While he has gotten rid of most of that impatience while plying his trade with the Lions in Johannesburg, some of those elements are still present. Nevertheless, the team seems to have noticed that a confident Tahir is a valuable Tahir, and a quick word in the ear or an arm around the shoulder when things are going a bit awry is part and parcel of the approach with the leggie now.

During the domestic season in South Africa, Tahir took 37 wickets at a lowly economy rate of just 3.24. While he was working at getting better, he not only learned control of his variations, but also how to keep one end tidy.

One five-for doth not a leg spinner make, but perhaps Tahir is finally back on track for South Africa. In a country where fast bowlers are in over supply and where spinners struggle to last, Tahir certainly has work to do, but at least he knows it.