Getting to Know: Imran Tahir

Monday 24th October 2016
& News
Written by Danny Painter

South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir will join Derbyshire in 2017 after being announced as the Club’s first overseas signing for next summer. We take a look back at his impressive career so far.

The prolific bowler, who’s ebullient celebrations complement his irrepressible googly, will be familiar with English and East Midlands conditions, having played for local rivals Nottinghamshire during the 2016 campaign.

His time at Derbyshire will be the 37-year old’s sixth stint in English cricket having previously played for Nottinghamshire, Middlesex, Yorkshire, Hampshire and Warwickshire.

In a career that has spanned two decades, the veteran spinner began bowling in his native Pakistan, where he played for several clubs and amidst his domestic efforts and represented his country in the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.

It would be in the southern hemisphere where he established himself across all formats, playing for the Titans, Easterns, Dolphins and Lions in South African first-class cricket.

In order to fulfil his ambition to play international cricket, Tahir qualified to play for South Africa and earned his Test debut against Australia in 2011.

He has since taken 57 Test wickets in 20 matches, including career-best figures of 5-32 against Pakistan, helping South Africa secure victory by an innings and 92 runs in the UAE in 2013.

He’s enjoyed plenty of success in red ball cricket, but it is in the shorter format that his combination of legbreaks, googlies and flippers prove most effective. Currently top of the ICC Twenty20 rankings, Tahir has taken 43 wickets in 27 outings at an average of 15.43 and a total of 111 ODI scalps in 64 matches at 23.44.

The trademark of his bowling is his ability to get the breakthrough in the middle overs and this proved telling when he took six wickets in South Africa’s ODI whitewash of Australia earlier this month. This followed his 7-45 against the West Indies in July, the best figures ever by a South African.

On English soil, Tahir has garnered 216 wickets across the four-day and limited-overs competitions. The leg-spinner appeared in the NatWest T20 Blast in 2016 for the Notts Outlaws, and claimed match-winning figures of 3-13 against eventual tournament champions Northants Steelbacks.

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