Tahir threat excites Smith
Proteas captain glad to have leg-spinner in the ranks
Last Updated: January 11, 2011 4:09pm
Positive spin: Smith (left) and Tahir
South Africa skipper Graeme Smith has welcomed the addition of leg-spinner Imran Tahir to the Proteas' one-day squad.
"To have somebody like Imran who can take wickets and change the course of the game together with our frontline seamers is a wonderful asset."
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Smith, who will give up the one-day international captaincy after the World Cup, is delighted to finally have an attacking spin option at his disposal.
Tahir was born in Lahore and represented Pakistan at A team level but has since married a South African and recently became eligible for his adopted country.
And the 31-year-old has been brought straight into the squad for the five-match ODI series against India - and is set to make his debut in Wednesday's opener at Kingsmead.
"It (having an attacking spinner) is something I have dreamed of throughout my captaincy," said Smith, who is now entering his ninth year at the helm.
"It's an asset to have an attacking, wicket-taking option in the middle overs which we haven't really had.
"(Off-spinner) Johan Botha has been excellent for us ... but to have somebody like Imran who can take wickets and change the course of the game together with our frontline seamers is a wonderful asset."
The India series is South Africa's final 50-over action before the World Cup starts on the subcontinent in February.
"World Cup selection is just around the corner so it is a tough time because it's every player's dream to go to the World Cup," added Smith. "I guess there is a lot of extra pressure on players at the moment to perform.
"It's about finding the right combinations ... but at the same time we have to realise that the World Cup is being played under totally different conditions to what we will be playing here."
Smith also confirmed all-rounder Jacques Kallis will take no part in the one-dayers with India after picking up a side strain in the drawn final Test between the two sides last week.
Kallis is, however, expected to be fit for the World Cup, which runs from February 19 to April 2 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.