An honour to play with so many legends of the game: Imran Tahir

Sports Sunday 23/January/2022 18:58 PM
By: Times News Service
An honour to play with so many legends of the game: Imran Tahir

Muscat: To play with the same legends he grew up watching is an honour for Imran Tahir, who is currently part of the World Giants at the Legends League Cricket tournament currently taking place in Oman.

Speaking to the media after his side earned victory over the India Maharajas, in which former South Africa international Tahir unexpectedly shone with the bat as he made a quickfire 52 off 19 deliveries, he said he was just doing what was needed for the team.

“I am really, really pleased that I was able to perform for the team, because that is why I have come here,” he said. “The wicket is so good for batsmen here…there are small boundaries so it is easy for the batsmen. I guess that suits this [Twenty20] format…the audience also wants that. I am just happy that I did something special for my team.

“I have always wanted to play international cricket, so when I did play in any format, I realise that I must play in a manner expected from me by the team,” said Tahir, who was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but represented South Africa internationally. “I never take things for granted. To play with such great legends is an amazing honour. I used to watch these guys on TV when I was growing up, because that used to be my dream [when I was little].”

Ex-England batsman Kevin Pietersen led the charge for the World Giants with a 53-run knock, and he was ably aided by Tahir, Darren Sammy (28) and Brad Haddin (21), as they reached the target of 210 set by the India Maharajas and won by three wickets.

“I play this game because it is purely a passion of mine…I respect the game,” added Tahir. “I was a very normal cricketer, like millions around the world. I am very grateful to the Almighty that he has given me the rewards for working hard. When I was nothing, I used to work in a shop to earn a living, and despite where I am today, I will never forget my roots.”

Ex-India international Naman Ojha, facing the media after the defeat, decided to take a more balanced view of things. Despite hammering a blockbuster 140 runs from 69 deliveries during his time on the pitch, he was unable to guide his team to victory.

“Victory and defeat happens all the time,” he said. “If we don’t do well in this game, there is always another one coming along. It is a good, grassy wicket. In the beginning, the ball seams a bit, but then it comes to you nicely.”

Ojha welcomed tournaments such as this one, because of the opportunities they provided cricketers even after they have retired from international duty.

“My second thought is to play all leagues around the world…we now have opportunities to play around the world,” he admitted. “I think this is a great tournament – all of the cricket greats are coming here to play, so it will get better and better as it goes forward.

“At present, however, the opportunities to play are fewer, because of COVID. The tournaments that are scheduled to be held often get postponed,” he said. “However, you still need to be prepared to play each and every day.”