There is something about Imran Tahir that is unavoidably lovable. He isn’t the man of dreams, his beard isn’t sexy, he isn’t masculine, but there is something about Imran Tahir. Something, the mentioned above cannot buy. It’s the belief.
He never stopped believing. Not even when he was a salesman to support his family, not when he didn’t make it to Pakistan’s team, something his late parents wanted, Not when he moved to South Africa and put his international career on hold because of the qualification period, not when he had to work hard for years in the county to earn his food, not when he was selected but had to let go because they thought he was prematurely eligible. Not when he was overlooked for younger players, not when he ended with one of the worst bowling figures, not when he failed to make a place in the IPL early on.
He believed he would come back, he believed that his day would come. It did and he did. Jokingly in an interview in 2015, he said that he would be a part of IPL team soon and help the team to win the cup, maybe at the age of 40 or 41. He actually did.
When asked his fellow leggies, they wanted to steal not his bowling but the enthusiasm he brings to the field. The spark in his eyes that tells you the passion, the enthusiasm that tells you his love for wickets. There might be better bowlers than Tahir but nobody can beat this. Beat his celebration.
Though he is 40, he never says no for teaching others and never says no for learning. Ask him tips, he would tell you whatever you want but also appreciates you for your talent, and would ask you how to bowl so and so delivery. He loves to learn, he doesn’t care from where it comes.
Tahir runs in. His hair dances as he jumps to release the ball. The ball hits the turf, turns a mile. The batter gets beaten. He goes down on his knees with hands on his head with a sigh. The batter reacts the same. He then runs back to bowl his next. This time a flatter one. The batter defends it. He looks at the batter and runs back again. This time it’s a googly. The batter reads it and plays it to the boundary. Tahir smiles. He doesn’t get into a verbal dispute with the batter but it was an ego hit. He wants to get better of the batter. He bowls the same delivery at a different speed. The batter throws his bat at it and finds the long-on. He raises his arms, starts running. He runs as much as he can. He runs with pure joy. He runs far and comes back, forgets it, gets ready for the next ball. This is how Tahir’s routine goes. He keeps picking up wickets, he keeps running like a small boy. The pattern continues. Sometimes at the different order but things remain the same for most of the times.
Now that his career with Proteas in the ODIs is over, Proteas are back to two things they are good at. One is chocking, and the other is the lack of good wicket-taking leg spinners.
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