Cape Town — Former Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir has come out in support of Tabraiz Shamsi after the wrist-spinner was left out of South Africa’s ICC T20 Cup opener against Zimbabwe in Hobart.
The Proteas played the lone spinner Keshav Maharaj alongside the four-pronged seam attack consisting of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell and Lungi Ngidi at the expense of the world’s fourth-ranked T20 bowler Shamsi.
The conditions in Hobart were overcast and rainy, which would have made the white ball difficult to grip for any wrist-spinner, but Tahir still feels Shamsi should be backed within the Proteas system, especially as he has taken 48 T20 International wickets in the calendar year — only second to Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga 56.
Second highest wicket taker in the world and have won many a games for SA in the last 2 years is consistently ignored for no reasons.Really feel sad for Shamsi.Stay strong brother @shamsi90 pic.twitter.com/Wnubu9gSP5
— Imran Tahir (@ImranTahirSA) October 24, 2022
“Second highest wicket taker in the world and have won many a game for SA in the last 2 years is consistently ignored for no reasons. Really feel sad for Shamsi. Stay strong brother,” Tahir, who is South Africa’s leading spinner in T20Is, posted on social media.
The spin duo recently played together for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League.
Tahir’s comments follow on from former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis’ view that Shamsi is not receiving the support he requires to perform at his peak.
Du Plessis is elated that Maharaj has transferred his red-ball prowess to the limited-overs arena after being viewed as a “Test specialist” initially, but believes Shamsi is an outright match-winner.
“I do think Shammo needs to play almost every game. It’s important for Shammo, and for the Proteas, that he gets the backing because if he gets the backing, he will be at his best. He will get you wickets and T20 is about wickets. He’s done that for a long time ever since Immy Tahir retired,” Du Plessis said.
Proteas coach Mark Boucher, however, defended Shamsi’s exclusion after the Zimbabwe opener, but stated there would be a possible re-think ahead of Thursday’s clash against Bangladesh in Sydney.
“We decided to go with the extra seamer which is quite harsh on Shammo, but I think it was the right decision with the rain around and Lungi picking up two wickets in the first two overs. The way Anna bowled, KG bowled, and Wayne Parnell, they all warranted their selection,” Boucher said.