Imran Tahir admits that serious question marks hovered over his selection leading up to his Man of the Match 4-27 against Sri Lanka.
Not one, but two left hamstrings threatened to curtail the Proteas’ Champions Trophy opener at the Oval on Saturday. Imran Tahir was the first to pass his fitness test, while David Miller got the thumbs up at the 11th hour.
It would appear though that Tahir’s fitness was too close for comfort than first thought, and who knows how Sri Lanka’s unsuccessful run chase might have turned out had he not featured. He was involved in six Sri Lankan wickets – four of them wickets and two of them run-outs – as Sri Lanka fell 96 runs short.
‘I was a little bit down over the past week, because of my injury niggle,’ Tahir tells SACricketmag.com. ‘I wasn’t sure if I was going to play, so credit to the physio and the doc to get me to play.
‘It’s not that serious; everything is clear,’ he continues. ‘I did well with my fitness tests, but there was always a question mark. I’m just happy I was able to play this game.’
If the cricketing world wasn’t already aware of Tahir’s trademark celebration, then they are now. A speedometer was placed on the 38-year-old to see at what speed he would run off into the distance after taking a wicket. A rather brisk 25km/h was the result. Alongside the run-out that he produced to remove Suranga Lakmal, it’s difficult to believe he’s two years shy of 40.
‘I’m quite pleased with those numbers,’ Tahir jokes after learning of the speed he ran at. ‘The run-out was very cool. I do a little bit of extra fielding training because there’s so many good fielders in our side, so I have to make a name for myself somehow.’
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