Tahir to play against India, confirms De Villiers

South Africa captain undeterred by India’s apparent immunity to spin-bowling.

Agencies February 21, 2015
It would be Tahir’s first ODI against India and his captain assured the 35-year-old he would not be thrown in the deep end. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE: The spin proficiency of the Indian batsmen notwithstanding, South Africa will play leg-spinner Imran Tahir in Sunday’s World Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), said Proteas skipper AB de Villiers on Saturday.

The ease with which the wristy and nimble-footed Indian batsmen negotiate spin is in stark contrast to their traditional vulnerability against genuine pace and steep bounce.

The Proteas would expect fast-bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to exploit that weakness in the Pool A game between the title favourites and the reigning champions but would not shy away from fielding the Pakistan-born Tahir.

“He’s been one of our best bowlers over the last two years,” De Villiers told reporters at the MCG. “There’s no way that, unless there’s some funny injury over the next 24 hours, that he’s not going to play. I see him as a match-winner against any team in the world.”It would be Tahir’s first ODI against India and his captain assured the 35-year-old he would not be thrown into the deep end.

Our batting versus their bowling: Kohli

India vice-captain Virat Kohli predicts an “exciting” tussle between his team’s batsmen and South Africa’s bowlers at the MCG.

“Both sides are balanced, so it all depends on how you play on the day,” the leading Indian batsman said ahead of the key Pool B match that will almost certainly assure the winner a place in the quarter-finals.

Kohli, deputising for skipper MS Dhoni at Saturday’s pre-match media conference, said the hard pitch with extra bounce at the MCG will be a challenge for the two teams.

“They have good fast-bowlers and we have the batsmen,” he said.

“So it should be an exciting contest between their bowlers and our batsmen.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2015.

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