Monday, 24 October 2016
Derbyshire sign Imran Tahir!
Imran Tahir's potent combination of leg and top spin, combined with a hard to pick googly, have made him a success in all forms of the game and in all countries of the world. That is emphasised by a career record of over 1400 wickets in the game's various forms. Not bad, huh?
He is no stranger to these shores, having had previous stints with five counties, as well as Staffordshire. The latter probably gave Derbyshire an 'in' to the player, as Kim Barnett has apparently known him for thirteen years. Now in his late thirties, Tahir's powers are far from diminished and he actually looks a better bowler than in his younger days, often the case with purveyors of the spin bowling art.
In the recent one-day series that South Africa played against Australia, Tahir was the one bowler on either side who was hard to hit. A lot of batsmen seem to find him hard to pick, even after all these years and there appeared to be an element of risk whenever they took him on.
As with all international players these days, Tahir's availability is restricted by the schedule but he is available from late-June onwards, subject to his commitments with his country. These tend to be in one-day cricket only now, so we should see plenty of him at Derby, as the season gets towards its business end.
I have no doubt that Neil Godrich will now have a major part to play in preparing wickets to suit our new overseas star. Dry and dusty, certainly as the game goes on, will be the order of the day. Tahir took wickets for Nottinghamshire last year on wickets that largely didn't suit him, but it would be a surprise if such a method was adopted by Derbyshire.
We now have one of the two best spin bowlers in the world game for a major part of the summer. Interestingly, Kim Barnett suggested that we will go with spin for the four-day game, perhaps indicating that another player might be recruited for the fifty-over competition. We'll have to wait and see who Tahir's four-day job-share partner is, but if this is the benchmark we should prepare to be impressed.
Importantly, we have a 'go to' bowler if things are getting away from us. Billy Godleman will enjoy having one available who he can toss the ball to and broadly forget about for a session, if he chose to do so, as it is rare for Tahir to be hit, or fail to get wickets.
It will be a huge help for Matt Critchley. He had a session with Shane Warne a few weeks ago and now gets to work with one of the greats at close quarters. I am sure he will be thrilled at such an opportunity.
Visiting skippers will now have a decision to make at the time of the toss - do they risk the vagaries of opening morning wickets, or opt to bat last on one that will doubtless turn? IF our batsmen can bat as a unit and get a total on the board, there won't be many who fancy chasing 200-plus on the last day, against a bowler who can and will roll them over. If we can now get a top strike bowler, our opponents will have a bit of a dilemma.
It is a very important piece of the jigsaw and the club is to be applauded for persuading a big international name to throw in his lot in this part of the East Midlands.
Welcome to Derbyshire, Imran.
An exciting chapter of our cricketing lives will begin in 2017.