• Tahir relishes pressure game

    Imran Tahir says he has embraced the extra pressure that comes from bowling in Indian conditions in the current Freedom Series against India.

    Tahir took match figures of 6-71 in the Proteas’ 108-run loss in the first Test in Mohali, and believes pressure is an element of international cricket he has learnt to use to his benefit.

    ‘The pressure is always there, it doesn’t matter where you play,’ he said in Mohali on Monday.

    ‘It’s how you cope with it that will set you apart. There is definitely pressure, everyone expects you to take wickets because its turning miles and the Indian spinners are taking wickets. I focus on what I need to do for the team, that is how I challenge myself. I don’t like to look outside of it, at the end of the day I give my 100 percent for the team, that is satisfying.

    ‘I’m very glad with the way that I performed in the game,’ Tahir said. ‘There was probably one patch where I didn’t bowl well, it was towards the end of the second day, but other than that, I went into the game with the big belief that I can do something. I’ve worked hard and I’m happy to see it paying off.’

    Hashim Amla waited until the 44th over to introduce Tahir in India’s first innings where he took 2-23 in 10 overs, but it was the captain’s strategy of using Tahir is short bursts in the second innings where the 36-year-old made a telling impact with his armoury of variations.

    ‘It worked well in this game,’ he said of the strategy which produced figures of 4-48.

    ‘I have never been used like that in Test cricket so it was something different. With that you have to be mentally strong because you have to come back and bowl straight from the  cold, you’ve been off for 10 overs or so. I enjoyed it, credit goes to the captain for giving me this role.

    ‘The conditions here allow you to spin the ball a little bit more,’ he added. ‘If you are playing on hard tracks where the ball doesn’t spin much you are more likely to give batsmen the opportunity to score easily. Here you want to get them to play shots, and try to bowl slowly. I played here in the one-day games and when it turns it turns nicely, with that I can use my variations really well.’

    It remains to be seen what type of wicket the M.Chinnaswamy curator in Bengaluru will produce, but whatever the surface, Tahir has kept his approach as simple as possible.

    ‘I’m the guy who believes that whatever I’m playing, be it T20’s, ODIs or Test matches, if I give all that I have in me for the Proteas I will be satisfied. It doesn’t matter if it goes my way or not, that is the mind set I have for every format. I’ve had a few bad matches in Test cricket, I could have easily given up, but I wanted to challenge myself.’

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