Barnett delighted to welcome Tahir

Monday 24th October 2016
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Director of Cricket, Kim Barnett, says that Imran Tahir, signed by Derbyshire for the 2017 campaign, is a world class player who can win matches for the county.

The 37-year-old brings a wealth of experience to The 3aaa County Ground, having taken over 1,000 wickets at professional level, and already played his trade for five other counties.

He will offer a leg-spin option for the county across all formats, and currently sits as the top-ranked bowler by the ICC in Twenty20 International cricket, and the third-best in One-Day internationals.

Barnett believes the capture of a world-class spinner could be vital if Derbyshire are to turn winning positions into wins during the 2017 campaign.

“I’ve known Imran for a long time – 13 years,” Barnett said. “He’s not only a very skilful guy to have in the side, but he’s got great integrity and will be a great mentor for Matt Critchley.

“When I first met him he was playing for Staffordshire. He’s developed and is quite rightly one of the best leg spinners around in the world now and we’re very excited to have him on board.

“Particularly for Billy, to have someone out there in four day cricket who can win the game over four days and come in on the last afternoon and dominate play and that’s very important.

“We’ve targeted these guys specifically. We know that they’re highly skilled, we certainly know Imran is, and will blend in nicely with the young players. As a mentoring department, John Wright and Tahir will both mentor other people in the club.”

The ECB this week announced that the rule allowing away teams to bowl first without the need for a toss in four-day cricket will be retained for the new season and Barnett believes a strong spin department will thrive because of this.

He added: “The toss is a big thing – people are batting first, pitches are a lot flatter. On the last day when it gets off straight – Imran will be the match winner for us.

“We’re hoping to get that nice blend of the pitch doing enough without doing too much and giving everyone an opportunity to play well.”

The ICC Champions’ Trophy comes to England and Wales in June and, if selected, Tahir will play for South Africa during that time, but Barnett says plans are already in place to cover his absence.

“We’ve got plans for the the first few months in the four-day games and 50-over competition and Imran will come in July, if he plays in the Champions Trophy.

“We’ve got all bases covered – in the four-day game we’re sticking to the policy of spin all the way through.

“We’re looking forward to Billy having more options in the bowling department and we’re backing our batsmen to get enough runs to give the bowlers enough chance to win the game.”

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