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Two leggies hog limelight for different reasons

Monday, January 24, 2022
Subhash Rajta

It's amazing how much interest and excitement the two leg spinners - Imran Tahir and Piyush Chawla - had generated even before playing a match in the series. On Sunday, Chawla made it to the playing XI but the Pakistan-born Tahir missed the opportunity to make his debut.

While Piyush Chawla’s inclusion in the team raised eyebrows, Imran Tahir not getting a game in the series surprised everyone. © AFP

That's strange as Cricket South Africa had taken pains to get his residential papers cleared to make him eligible to play for South Africa early in the current series. And when skipper Graeme Smith said "he had been dreaming for an attacking leg-spinner during his entire captaincy", Tahir's debut had looked imminent in the very first ODI.

While his non-inclusion at the Wanderers, Kingsmead and Newlands could be attributed to the pitch conditions, keeping him out at the spin friendly St Geroge's Park in Port Elizabeth and Centurion defied logic. Is the captain holding him back as a surprise factor? "Well, I will say yes if you want me to say that," said Smith, with a wry smile. Chawla, coming into the side almost after three years, got his first game on Sunday. The leggie, whose selection to the World Cup squad has raised a few eyebrows, must have been desperate to prove himself.

However, it wasn't the comeback the leggie would have hoped for. He made the cut for the World Cup on the assumption that teams like South Africa and England, both in India's group, are weak against leg spin.

HT Content & Syndication Services