Protea spinner Imran Tahir has expressed delight at being the number one bowler in the world in both T20I and ODI cricket on the eve of a bilateral series against New Zealand.
Tahir will have just one game in T20I cricket to defend his position at the top of the tree but there will be five ODIs for him to extend his advantage in that format.
His improvement in recent times has been a major part of the Proteas push back up the rankings in limited overs formats while his influence on the younger spinners will no doubt spill over into the Test arena.
Espn Cricinfo quote the tweaker as saying: “When I started cricket I never thought I’d be No. 1 bowler, it’s all the hard work I’ve done and I’m very excited.
“There are a lot of good players in world cricket and coming top of that is a really good achievement and I’m really grateful.
“It’s an absolute honour playing for South Africa, the boys have helped me over the years and made me the bowler I am today. Credit goes to them as well. I’ll try and stay in the spot as long as I can but there are some other brilliant cricketers.”
Tahir will come up against another leg spinner making waves in T20 cricket, New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi recently grabbed a six-wicket haul in the Big Bash League and shows a lot of promise.
When asked what advice he would give Sodhi, Tahir replied: “If I was him I’d work harder, I’m not saying he isn’t but that’s my advice because when I started like him I didn’t know my game or use my variations.
“I just bowled leggies, but then I worked hard to try to find how what would work for me in international cricket. Coming from South Africa is not easy because the pitches aren’t spin-friendly, so I had to work out how to adjust.”
The short straight boundaries at Eden Park are likely to test all the bowlers ability to bowl to a plan and proactively counter the batsman’s attempts to clear the rope.