Tabraiz Shamsi has waited a long time to emerge from the shadow of Imran Tahir and enjoy a regular place in South Africa’s ODI side, but the wait has not been a drain on the wrist-spinner’s enthusiasm, with the 29-year-old saying the first match against England at Newlands this week felt like the start of his international career all over again.
The first ODI in Cape Town was just Shamsi’s 18th match since making his debut in June 2016 and in that time he has only played three successive matches once.
But with Tahir now retired from 50-over cricket, Shamsi celebrated with a match-defining performance of 3/38 in 10 overs
as South Africa began the three-match series with a seven-wicket win.
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The second match is at Kingsmead in Durban today and conditions could well suit Shamsi once again.
“I’ve been involved with the team for a number of years but it was always just the odd game here and there. So this feels like a new chapter, it felt like I was starting my career again in Cape Town. Whenever I play I want to make an impact, but I’m even excited to make mistakes now because I have time to implement whatever changes I need to make, previously I’d only be playing again in three months’ time.
“So it feels like the beginning again and it should be interesting here in Durban as well because the pitch looks a little dry. But there’s always extra bounce at Kingsmead and I always enjoy that. But England won the World Cup so they are not a bad side and I’ll just try and do my best whatever the pitch. Cape Town is now gone and I will be judged again on my next performance,” Shamsi said in Durban yesterday.
England got off to a flying start in the first ODI, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow taking them to 51 without loss in the first nine overs, but it was the slow left-arm spin of Jon-Jon Smuts that initially set them back as the debutant made the breakthrough by removing a fluent Roy and bowled his first three overs for just seven runs.
“Jon-Jon is an all-rounder, he’s not a bits-and-pieces player, he’s a lot better than that. He doesn’t get given enough credit,” Shamsi said in praise of his new spin partner.
The impressive victory also ensured Quinton de Kock’s reign as the official new one-day captain was off to a great start as well, not least of all because the skipper stroked a sublime century himself.
“Quinny is a very different captain, he doesn’t speak much, he’s a simple guy of few words. But when he speaks the message is clear. Our relationship is just beginning and the field placings and strategy will come.”
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