Aussies admit Shamsi tough to read
A few international batsmen may have shifted to the edge of their couches while trying to steal a closer look as Tabraiz Shamsi turned his arm against Australia on Sunday.
Call him unorthodox or call him a left-arm wrist-spinner, but South Africa’s newest spinner most certainly has a bit of mystery about him.
Those South Africans who follow domestic cricket will know that Shamsi, 26, has been around for some time, although it took a while for him to emerge as a regular in franchise teams.
He has bowled more than 15 000 deliveries in all formats since making his first-class debut in 2009 and has enjoyed proper success recently.
Last year, he signed for Caribbean Premier League franchise St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, where Eric Simons was his coach.
Shamsi rose to some prominence there, taking 11 wickets at 13.27 in seven games.
In franchise cricket last season, he finished as the leading spinner in the Sunfoil Series, collecting 41 wickets at 19.97 in Titans’ run to the title.
He earned a call-up to the national side and made his ODI debut against Australia in the West Indies in June.
He said that he was a believer in not having too many tricks, but had ample variation and a googly to keep batsman guessing, something to which Aussie wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade will attest.
“He’s obviously something different. We faced him in the West Indies,” Wade said after his team went 4-0 down at St George’s on Sunday.”
“You need to face a few balls to get a read on him. We need to play him better, that’s for sure. We’ve got to find a way to keep him out of the contest.”
They failed to do that on Sunday with Shamsi claiming three cheap Aussie scalps, including that of skipper Steve Smith.
Shamsi was only told on Saturday night that he would be making his home international debut at St George’s Park.
“I probably felt more nervous today playing my first game in South Africa compared to when I made my debut in the West Indies,” Shamsi said after Sunday’s six-wicket win. “But I’m quite happy with the way things went.”
Quite happy indeed, but he would not have landed the wicket of Smith had it not been for wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock’s insistence.
“To be honest, I was not really that confident. “It was Quinton from behind the stumps . . . he seemed very keen so I left it in his hands with the captain and luckily they decided to review it.”
A pointer to Shamsi’s passion for the game is that he does not mind getting mouthy with the opposition.
He and Wade had a little tete-a-tete on Sunday and had to be separated by the umpires when it got a bit heated.
But he said: “We were just discussing where we were going to have dinner. “We couldn’t come to an agreement.”
“But seriously, I enjoy that kind of stuff. It gets the team going as well. It’s good to have a bit of fun out there.”