SA left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi says he can make a big difference to his team’s chances at the Cricket World Cup in 2019.
Wrist spin is in vogue, particularly in limited-overs cricket, and Shamsi feels his style of bowling adds another dimension to South Africa’s attack – something that could come prove handy in the World Cup, starting in May next year, and something that South Africa missed during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, when he was excluded from the squad.
“I feel sad that I missed out on the Champions Trophy because I’ve never been to an ICC event before,” Shamsi said in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.
“My ambition is to put in consistent performances and go to the World Cup and do some damage in England.
“I don’t want to just participate, I want to be somebody who makes a big difference in a big game and win it for South Africa. I firmly believe I will do something special at the World Cup, if I get picked.”
The 28-year-old has been impressive with the white ball, be it in domestic cricket, T20 franchise leagues or in international cricket. In the 2017-18 season, he was the top wicket-taker in both the one-day as well as T20 domestic cups in South Africa.
“It was very pleasing for me, personally. It was nice to see that I did well in conditions that didn’t suit my style of bowling,” he said.
“The World Cup is coming up in England next year and the pitches don’t really spin much there as well. Being the top wicket-taker (in the domestic competitions) has given me so much confidence.”
Shamsi is also working on new tricks to stay ahead of the game.
“In addition to the conventional leggie, wrong’un and the slider, I work at changing my angles in the crease and changing my lines smartly,” he said.
“Those are also variations. Switching pace from slower to quicker is also part of the learning.”
Spin bowling is catching on in South Africa, where pacers have historically ruled the roost, and Shamsi said spinners were now carving a niche for themselves.
“The spin department in the country looks much better than it has been before at any point. (Shaun) von Berg, and Tahir are leg-spinners. I bowl left-arm wrist spin, Keshav (Maharaj) bowls left-arm orthodox, and there’s Senuran Muthusamy with the A team, who also bowls left-arm orthodox.
“There’s a lot of variety – it’s all about utilising them well. Over the years, South Africa have always relied on fast bowlers, and maybe we didn’t have as many good spinners back then. But now I see a shift with many good spinners coming up.”