Tahir’s manic celebrations a mystery to him


South Africa legspinner Imran Tahir was at a loss to explain his frenzied wicket-taking celebrations after helping bowl the Proteas to a nine-wicket World Cup quarterfinal win over Sri Lanka.

Man-of-the-match Tahir took 4-26 in 8.2 overs as Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 133.

That meant spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground were repeatedly treated to the sight of the much-travelled Pakistan-born bowler throwing his head back, screaming with joy before, pumping his arms, he set off on an uncoordinated run across the outfield.

“It’s just something really – it’s just in me, I think. I don’t practice for that, I’m sure,” said Tahir.

“I played a club game in Stoke (in central England) and I took a very good catch, and I think I ran out of the ground, so they had to tell me which way is back to the ground.

“I was on the road, I didn’t know where I was. It’s a true story. I’m not making it up.”

The 35-year-old added: “It’s just because I want to enjoy everything I do for this team.

“This is a dream, you know. Because maybe there are a million people who do not have the opportunity that I have to play for this team.

“It is just an absolute honour, and I think every wicket I take is just for South Africa, for me, and it’s just given me such joy, and I think if I express it – like I said, I don’t know why it come out, I don’t know. I have no answer for this.”

Tahir said his success on Wednesday and that of offspinner JP Duminy, who took a hat-trick on his way to figures of 3-29, owed much to the work of fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott – who reduced Sri Lanka to eight for two, as well as their fellow paceman Morne Morkel.

“I think the fast bowlers set the standard for us,” Tahir said. “If they didn’t do well, then obviously it wasn’t going to be easier for us, as well.

“I think as a team we’re working hard and going in the right direction. I think that’s the key maybe for my success, maybe for Morne’s, Dale’s, JP’s success.”