Tabraiz Shamsi’s recent heroics with the red ball should enhance the competition between himself and Keshav Maharaj across all formats, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The left-armer spun the Titans to an easy victory over the Warriors in Port Elizabeth on Thursday by taking figures of 8-32 in the coastal team’s second innings.
Shamsi, who has mainly represented the Proteas in limited-overs cricket, could begin to knock on the Test door as a regular should his performances continue in similar vein.
The 30-year-old appears to have firmly established himself as the Proteas’ frontline spinner in ODIs and T20Is, although Maharaj was also part of the ODI squad that featured against Australia at the beginning of the year.
If Mark Boucher and his coaching staff were to continue their early trend of exploring options in almost all departments, then the door remains firmly open for Shamsi to work his way into the Test frame.
Truth is, Shamsi is a well-established performer in South Africa’s first-class system and should be rewarded for his efforts of the past few seasons.
On the other side of the line, Maharaj has developed into a pretty handy Test spinner for the Proteas with great ambitions to follow.
But, the competition between the two shouldn’t just be evident in white-ball cricket.
Given the opportunity the Proteas now have to restructure almost all three of their teams with a couple of new faces, then the upcoming summer season of cricket should present more chances for players like Shamsi to prove their worth in unfamiliar circumstances.
The Proteas are scheduled to tackle Sri Lanka and Australia in Test series on home soil over the next three months, which will be of huge significance given the success of the Australian outfit in this format over the past 18 months and the fact that the Proteas lost to Sri Lanka in a Test series last year.
If the Proteas were to once again form a competitive batch of players to feed the Test and limited-overs teams, then these sort of opportunities for a player like Shamsi should be a no-brainer.
There is more than enough talent in the country to step up to national level, not to mention the fact that Shamsi is already a proven competitor here.
He will subsequently be a huge asset to the Titans’ chances of claiming success on the domestic front again this season.