South African left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi's performance in the second ODI against India made a huge impression on Sanjay Manjrekar. The former cricketer said he had become an admirer of Shamsi's body language, his willingness to fight, and temperament after his duel with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant in Paarl.
Tabraiz Shamsi picked up two wickets in his nine-over spell at Boland Park. Most of the 57 runs he conceded came from Pant's bat as the southpaw took him on for five boundaries and a six. But Shamsi was unfazed and kept luring him to clear the fielders on the boundary before Pant ultimately fell in the trap, holing one to long-on for 85 (71).
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar said:
"After today's performance, I have become an admirer of Tabraiz Shamsi... You don't judge a player only by his success or failure and we saw when Pant went after him... I loved his body language, he kept his spirit, was willing to come back, and it was brilliant by Bavuma to give him another spell against Rishabh Pant when he was in 80s. That was a bit of a gamble and I think he went back to Shamsi because he saw that his bowler had not gone to pieces when Pant had gone after him. So really impressed by the temperament of Tabraiz Shamsi along with the skills that he has."
Former South African batter Daryll Cullinan also lauded Shamsi in the same interaction. He labeled the spinner a wicket-taking "luxury" that the Proteas can afford, even advocating for his inclusion in the 2023 World Cup squad.
"I thought he bowled well. Shamsi is not about containing the batsmen, he's not a 10-40 type of bowler. He's there to take wickets and whist he's taking wickets, he's doing the job. He's the luxury that South Africa can afford. If he knocks out one or two big players then he's well played. I do like his cricket, love his energy, his competitiveness. That's a good positive sign for South Africa. He hasn't played a lot of ODIs, being more preferred in T20s. But I think with the build-up to the world cup in the sub-continent next year, he's got to play a role."
Before the over where he claimed Pant's scalp, Tabraiz Shamsi had an economy rate of 11. He pulled most of it back in the next six overs by conceding just 24 runs. Shreyas Iyer became his second victim as the middle-order batter got trapped lbw for 11.
Tabraiz Shamsi might have got him out but Rishabh Pant won that battle: Daryll Cullinan
Cullinan also praised Pant, saying that although Tabraiz Shamsi got him out, the 'keeper-batter was the deserving winner of the battle. He said:
"Well, Shamsi might have got him out but I think Pant won that battle to be honest with the way he used his feet, sweapt and squared. He's a special talent and I love his batting - not with today's style with the bats up, just that tap of the bat with a slight backlift."
India set South Africa a target of 288. In reply, the hosts are cruising at 153-1 at the halfway mark.
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