Tahir will be secret weapon at World Cup: Smith

Johannesburg: The latest addition to the South African squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup, Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir will be the team’s ‘secret weapon’ at the mega event, starting from February 19 in the sub-continent, said Proteas skipper Graeme Smith.

Smith explained that it was a conscious decision not to expose Tahir, who only received South African citizenship midway through the just-concluded tour of India, in the one-day series against the visitors.

“(Tahir) is someone we want to keep fresh and not allow people the opportunity to see so much of. It was also a tactical decision, with our batting being slightly light in this series (against India),” Smith told SportsDay.

Tahir, who came up with some superb performances in local games, is also familiar with the sub-continental pitches. “The conditions in India will be a lot more batting-friendly and we will need to adapt our mindset from a batting and bowling perspective,” Smith said.

“The great thing about our squad is that it’s hard to predict what the line-up is going to be. It’s the first time we’re going to a World Cup with a lot of different options.

“We need to assess the conditions going into our first game and pick the team accordingly. I don’t think we are going there with a set XI in mind. We are going to pick the best combinations for each game; players we believe can win that game,” added Smith.