Former South African International Imran Tahir has rated Abdul Qadir and AB de Villiers as his first choice for a spinner and batsman respectively.
During an interaction with journalist Indranil Basu for SK Live, the 41-year-old leg-spinner picked his top five spinners and batsmen.
Growing up in Pakistan in the 1980s, it was very natural for a budding leg-spinner like Imran Tahir to idolise the legendary Abdul Qadir.
“For me, Abdul Qadir is the first one who I always wanted to be,” said Imran Tahir.
“Then there’s Shane Warne. At three, there’s Muttiah Muralitharan. He was as great as Warne or Qadir. Then there’s Mushtaq Ahmed and at no.5, I have the left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori.”
Having represented Pakistan in junior cricket, Imran Tahir would migrate to South Africa in the mid-2000s and gradually penetrate the South African pace-obsessed cricket setup to make a mark as a world-class spinner.
A successful white-ball cricketer, Imran Tahir finds it very difficult to look beyond his former South African teammates AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla when he has to pick his top batters.
On being asked to name his top five batsmen, Imran Tahir picked the ones he played against more often.
“I would have named Sachin Tendulkar and a few other guys, but I will name the guys that I have played against more. It’s AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla, Kumar Sangakkara and the fifth one would be Younis Khan.”
Despite retiring from international cricket after the 2019 World Cup in England, Imran Tahir remains one of the most sought-after cricketers in the franchise-based cricket leagues.
An important member of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) setup, Imran Tahir is currently playing for Deccan Gladiators in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament.
With 173 ODI wickets and 63 T20I wickets at an average of 24.83 and 15.04 respectively, the wily South African is regarded as one of the greatest limited-overs cricketers.