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Tahir honing his skills in Pakistan

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REUTERS

Proteas spin bowler Imran Tahir.

Lahore, Pakistan – South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir has returned to his native Pakistan to seek tips from old tutor Abdul Qadir in a bid to exploit England's weakness against spin when the teams meet in July.

Tahir, who developed as a spinner in Pakistan before qualifying to play for South Africa last year, arrived last week and trained with Pakistan legend Qadir on Tuesday.

“I will try my best to learn more and more from the master,” said Tahir, 33.

“Whatever leg-spin I bowl was taught to me by Qadir who in his day was a master spinner and a role model for youngsters.”

Qadir, 56, who was revered as a great leg-spinner during the 70s and 80s, predicted Tahir could play a lead role for South Africa, whose attack is dominated by pace.

“I have told him how to bowl differently,” Qadir told AFP. “Tahir is very talented and since he is my old student I agreed to help him when he contacted me last month.”

“If conditions in England remain dry and there is less rain then I am sure Tahir will be very handy against England,” added Qadir, who took 236 wickets in 67 Tests for Pakistan

South Africa will play three Tests, five one-days and three Twenty20s on their tour of England. The first Test begins at The Oval on July 19.

Tahir will hope that South Africa can follow Pakistan's example when his team confronts England.

England, world No 1 Test team, were routed 3-0 by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year, with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal taking 24 wickets and left-armer Abdul Rehman finishing with 19.

Tahir refused to compare himself to Ajmal or Rehman, saying he had his own style which he hoped would prove successful.

“What Ajmal and Rehman have achieved is great,” said Tahir. “I have my own skill and I will try my level best to get wickets for my team and I am learning to control my delivery which is a bit faster than the normal leg-breaks.”

Tahir said England's batsmen would be tough opponents but his experience of English conditions would be useful. Over the past eight years, Tahir has played for four different English counties.

“England's batsmen will be different on their grounds, but I have experience of English conditions which would be handy,” said Tahir, who has 18 wickets in seven Tests as well as 14 in five one-dayers. – Sapa-AFP


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