Former South Africa spinner Imran Tahir is quite popular in India, especially in Chennai as he is a member of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise – Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The leg-spin bowler is a regular part of CSK and has been a valuable asset for MS Dhoni-led side.
Tahir’s quality of deceiving the batsmen with his outstanding variations is a key to his success. The right-armer produces wickets whenever the team needs him. More than the wicket, Tahir’s animated celebration after dismissing a batsman has given him massive popularity.
Be it for South Africa or a domestic team, or in any T20 league, Tahir’s celebrations remain the same. After taking a wicket, the leggie tends to run nearly full-length of the stadium to celebrate the dismissal.
Tahir, who is often seen discussing tactics with his CSK captain Dhoni, recalled the time when he first met the Ranchi-born cricketer. While speaking to Anis Sajan on the chat show ‘Cricket Unplugged’, Tahir remembered the time when he was a part of Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. At the time, CSK was going through a two-year suspension, and MSD was captaining Pune.
“I had been watching him (Dhoni) on TV. But I never met in person. I first met him when I got picked for Pune and actually I was quite nervous, I didn’t know how to react,” said Tahir.
The former Proteas spinner said that he was amazed when Dhoni came to meet him as the veteran stumper invited Tahir to his room.
“But I was amazed, I was outside my room door, and he came to me from his room and said: ‘Imran bhai, welcome. This is my room, and you are more than welcome anytime,” the 41-year-old added.
“This is probably the best thing to hear from a legend like Dhoni. Like I said, it was very kind of him. He is such a down to earth guy. I thought ‘If you are offering me that, I am definitely coming to your room’. That was very kind of him,” Tahir added further.
The Pakistani-born South African cricketer further stated that Dhoni used to bring mangoes for the whole team.
“As I said, that was the first time I met him personally. We used to go to his room; we still go because he gets mangoes coming in from all over the world. We love to eat that. All of us,” Tahir concluded.
Tahir has so far played 55 IPL matches and has taken 79 wickets at an impressive average of 20.39. For three times, he has bagged a four-wicket haul in the lucrative league. Also, amongst overseas players, Tahir is the seventh-highest wicket-taker.