Tenacious Tahir wants his Test spot back


South Africa spinner Imran Tahir is not content to be a limited-overs stalwart, and wants to make sure he performs well in the remaining ODIs against New Zealand in order to regain his Test place.

Tahir has been out of format in the white kit since December last year, and has not played a Test in 2015. But despite being an integral part of the ODI side, it's the red ball that holds his heart.

Tahir said on Cricinfo: "I'm still challenging myself with that. When I go to bed after playing a Test match, I want to feel that I gave 100%.
"If not, I'll feel guilty and won't be able to sleep and probably will need sleeping tablets. But I know that in my heart I never did that.

"Whatever I did, I did it for South Africa. This is a dream I've had since I was 10. If I mistakenly drop my cap, I pick it up and kiss it. This is the biggest thing in my life.

"I have a lot of respect whatever format I play. I haven't developed as I should have in Test cricket, but I can work hard on that and that's what I've been doing."

Tahir's place has been filled by Dane Piedt, before he got injured last year, and then Simon Harmer this year. Harmer hasn't broken boundaries as such, and while Tahir is pleased about the spin stocks, he's not nice enough to hope it keeps him out the side.

He added: "There are lot of good youngsters coming up and it's good for them to get an opportunity. That's great for South African cricket, but the other side of it is that I don't want to lose my spot.

"That keeps me going. I want someone to be there to challenge me.

One other spinner looking good for the future is Lions' Eddie Leie. He has not played much for the Proteas yet, and has no Test cap, but Tahir feels the youngster is definitely a talent to watch.

Tahir continued: "He's [Leie] a really good, talented guy. It was nice that he had an opportunity. I wish I had that when I was his age.

"He's a good, strong character and he wants to do well for South Africa. That makes him a good bowler. He's got all the variations, but probably he needs to learn a bit more about the game.

"Wherever I could, I helped him. Actually, I did share all my secrets with him. What god has written for me, no one's going to take it away. I just want to pass it on."