Not an insult to be 12th man, Imran

It is looking increasingly like leg-spinner Imran Tahir will be carrying the drinks in the first Test against India at the Wanderers on Wednesday.

It would be a back-handed reward for the stellar bowling he produced in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai, where he returned match figures of eight for 130 – including a first innings “five-for” – that, aligned with Graeme Smith’s double century, sank the nomadic side from the sub-continent without trace and squared the series.

But Proteas coach Russell Domingo voiced his faith in the strength and effectiveness of the South African pace attack this week, tacitly admitting that while spin has its place it does not enjoy priority.

It was a standing gag during the seventies that the Indian seamers Syed Abid Ali, Eknath Solkar and Madan Lal were only in the team to take the shine off the ball and produce some footmarks for the famed

Indian spin quartet.

But then any team plays to its strengths, and in an era when Indian spin could parade off-spinners Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and the incomprable left-armer Bishen Singh Bedi, one of them more often than not watched proceedings from the pavilion.

Tahir, it seems, looks likely to endure a similar fate.

today in print

today in print