Imran Tahir (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)
His body language, thunderous appeal, long beard and wavy hair lit up the entire atmosphere. The charismatic South African leg spinner Imran Tahir adds flavor to the IPL tournament like nobody else can.
But Tahir is not just about the flair. His combative style, gestures and trademark grin often camouflage his killer instinct, as has been seen several times in IPL 2019.
Tahir is like the character 'Po' in the famous Kung Fu Panda movies, who always wants to fight to the finish. No other spinner in the IPL entertains the audience the way Tahir does - with his skills, determination and charisma all at the same time.
Tahir grabbed four crucial wickets of Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell for 27 runs in the CSK vs KKR match to twist the proceedings in CSK’s favor. Lynn in particular looked unstoppable at one point as he was raining fours and sixes at will, and he scored 82 off 51 balls before he fell to Tahir’s leg spin.
When Russell was out for 10, Tahir ran all around the field while spreading his hands like the wings of a fighter plane. He had demolished the strong batting line-up of the Kolkota Knight Riders, setting the game up nicely for CSK.
Tahir’s enthusiastic celebrations often outshine his bowling. And that often irritates the opposition players; a furious Russell chopped off the plants in front of the dressing room with his bat, much to the amusement of Tahir. “Dhoni told me where to pitch the leg spin,” he said later.
Tahir has plenty of guile and bite in his variations, particularly the googly. Many top order batsmen fumble against his bowling; a majority of them are forced to step out to take the ball as a half volley.
Tahir often creates panic in the middle order with his accuracy and clever line and length. His neat action helps him hide his googly well too.
The only way to deal with Tahir is to get him out of the attack. A few batsmen can lift him out of the ground, but it's a high-risk strategy at the best of times.
Tahir has bagged 13 wickets in eight matches this season with an economy rate of 5.76. He is second in the IPL Purple Cap list, and has helped CSK maintain a stronghold over the top position in the points table.