Proteas leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, has credited the hard work he has put in during the off-season as the foundation for his strong comeback into the Castle Lager Proteas' Test team. Tahir marked his return after almost a year on the sidelines with a career-best 5/32, to leave Pakistan in disarray on the opening day of the second Test match at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.
"No, it never crossed my mind," Tahir said when asked if he thought his Test career was over after Australia. "I had a good time in Australia apart from the Test match, but from there the main thing was for me to work at performing at an international level. I went back and played domestic cricket for the Lions, I did well and also trained really hard during the off- season. I was just waiting for the opportunity, luckily enough I had that and I'm just really happy."
The 34 year-old who boasts 673 first-class wickets to his name admits he hasn’t changed much in his technique, and has rather relied on the confidence he has in his abilities. It is the first time he has bowled on sub-continent wickets since making his debut in November 2011.
"I still think that I am the same bowler that I have been for the last five years," he said. "It depends on whether things click for you or situations go your way. I have worked hard, that is the only thing I want to mention, so it’s nice to see that it has paid off today. I can't say I've done this or that, I've been bowling and training hard, credit to my team mates, captain and coach who have had the belief to give me another opportunity. "
Tahir lauded the rest of the bowling attack, which bounced back impressively after they seemed to be off the pace in the first Test in Abu Dhabi.
"Dale, Morne and Vernon are probably the best bowlers in world cricket, nobody in the team had doubts about us being able to bowl any team out on any day. That is what happened today, they set the tone and I just chipped in."