Imran Tahir has hailed his rise to No 1 on the ICC ODI bowling rankings as a special moment.
The Proteas leg-spinner will look to draw inspiration from this milestone and will hope that it will give his performance a boost against New Zealand in the one-off T20 in Auckland on Friday. Tahir, who already holds the No 1 spot in T20s, climbed to the summit of the ODI bowling rankings after taking 10 wickets in their 5-0 whitewash victory against Sri Lanka.
He has become the go-to player for the Proteas in the shorter formats, with captains, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis singing Tahir’s praises. The 37-year-old, who has played 69 ODIs and 30 T20Is in his six-year career, continues to get better with age and hard work.
‘I have been working very hard,’ he said in Auckland on Thursday. ‘It’s not easy to perform in every series, but as long as I am performing for the team and the captain and coach are happy then I am happy.
‘It is special for me,’ he said of the rankings. ‘When I started playing cricket I never thought that I would be the No 1 bowler one day. It’s due to all of the hard work I have put in, I’m excited, there are a lot of good players around the world. Being No 1 is a great achievement, I’m grateful to the team I am playing for, it’s an honour to play for South Africa and the boys have helped me over the years and made me the bowler I am today. Hopefully, I can continue to put in the performances to stay at the top.’
Due to bad weather, the Proteas had an indoor session at Eden Park on Friday, but will continue to focus on elements within their control despite the disruptions to their preparation.
‘We had a full session yesterday,’ Tahir said. ‘We have just played a series,so the guys are in good touch. I don’t think it will bother us too much if we don’t have any other sessions, we have been playing good cricket, everything in the camp is going well.’