Results tagged “imran tahir” from Coventry Telegraph - Pink Online

ASHLEY Giles has hinted that some good news could await Warwickshire's beleaguered batsmen next season - less bowler-friendly pitches at Edgbaston.

After several years as a depressing bowlers' graveyard, the Edgbaston square lurched the other way in 2010. The assistance that pitches gave to the bowlers, allied to the new roller regulations, contributed to (though far from excused) the desperate fortunes suffered by the Bears' top order.

The bowlers weren't complaining. Chris Woakes, Neil Carter and Imran Tahir filled their boots to take more than 50 championship wickets in the season while Rikki Clarke added 32 at 23 apiece, Darren Maddy 21 at 24 and Boyd Rankin 22 at 27.

Opposing seamers at Edgbaston also enjoyed their share of success against Warwickshire's confidence-drained batting line-up though so this season director of cricket Giles wants to get the balance right. And most of all, he wants to know exactly what type of surface he can expect during each game.

"The bowlers might not have such an easy ride next season," he said. "The key for me will be to know what kind of wickets we are playing on so we can plan properly for the opposition.

ASHLEY Giles has challenged Ant Botha to "show us what he has got" as leader of Warwickshire's spin attack next year.

The return of Imran Tahir to Hampshire for next season left the Bears with a decision of whether to go with Botha or try to find another spinner to head up their slow-bowling department in 2011.

Botha's first-class career figures - 302 wickets at 34.75 runs apiece in 135 matches - are nothing special and he played in only half Warwickshire's championship matches, delivering just 50.4 overs, last season.

His four championship wickets in 2010 cost 43.75 each but those figures must be taken in context. Even when selected, with Tahir around, Botha invariably had to wait a long time for a bowl, if he got one at all, sometimes not getting the call until 60 or 70 overs had passed.

Spinners, more than any other type of bowler, need plenty of overs to acquire rhythm and confidence but for much of his time on the championship field last season Botha could only ponder that point from the slip-cordon.

The left-armer has shown in the past what he can do. In September 2009, Sussex prepared a turning wicket at Hove to suit their spinners only for Botha to bowl the Bears to victory with match figures of 67-25-115-9. He is, Giles reckons, more than capable of leading the spin attack.

"I'm not looking for another spinner," said Giles.

"Ant is the man in possession and it gives him a great run at it next year.

BEARS captain Ian Bell admitted Imran Tahir will be "massively" missed after the spinner signed off for Warwickshire with a stunning five-wicket haul.

On his farewell appearance before returning to Hampshire, Tahir eviscerated Somerset's middle and lower order to take his wicket-tally in all competitions this season to 98.

The Pakistan-born bowler, who will qualify to play for South Africa this winter, will be in the opposing dressing-room at Edgbaston with Hampshire next season. But he has left a big impression on Warwickshire.

"Immy turned the match on its head in the space of a few overs," Bell said. "There aren't many bowlers in the world who can do that.

"After a quiet first spell he showed his magic like he has done all season. He has been brilliant for us and we will miss him massively. He and Ant Botha bowled well together as they have in the last three games and not to have Immy back next year is massively disappointing."

Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick set aside his disappointment at his team's third runners-up spot of the season to pay generous tribute to Tahir and man-of-the-match Bell.

"Tahir ripped the heart out of the game with his wickets and then Belly showed what a world-class player he is," Trescothick said.

CRICKET'S greatest charm is the way in which, with all its complications and fluctuations, it mirrors life itself.

Life, as we all know, can be strange. And cricket is very strange, as proved once again on Saturday night as the cheers and songs of Warwickshire's players and supporters echoed away into the chilly darkness of St John's Wood.

Somerset's team had a fine season. They won more games than any other county - 30 - and challenged hard in every competition, giving their fans many good days. Yet they slipped away into the last night of summer silent, punchdrunk and devastated.

Warwickshire, meanwhile, have supplied their followers with considerable angst during 2010, at times plumbing depths at which even Jacques Cousteau would draw a line. Yet on Saturday evening they were getting stuck into a party that was set to run and run.

Somerset, having set the bar high all season, came in underneath it again in the Clydesdale 40 final, losing by three wickets to end up runners-up in three competitions. Warwickshire ended their turbulent campaign, remarkably, still in the championship First Division and with their eighth one-day trophy - and first since 2002 - heading for the trophy cupboard (if the club can afford one) in the new pavilion next summer. In terms of matches won, the Bears ended up second to Somerset with 27. Strange.

Their victory in the first Lord's final under lights extended their excellent 40-over form. In 2009 they were unbeaten in the format. Now, having finished top of their group, they lifted the trophy after beating three of the strongest sides in the country - Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Somerset - on successive Saturdays.

Their final triumph, roared on by a big Bears contingent in the 15,000 crowd, was powered by two world-class performances. Imran Tahir, on his last game before returning to Hampshire, destroyed the Sabres' lower order with a spell of five for 14 in four overs which sent Marcus Trescothick's side lurching from a promising 176 for three to the wreckage of 199 all out. Tahir, with five for 41, became only the second spinner to harvest a five-for in a Lord's final following in the footsteps of Ray Illingworth (five for 29 against Surrey in 1965).

On a decent but not great batting wicket, 199 was an attractive target but by no means a gimme. Somerset took wickets regularly enough to stay in the hunt but came up against the brilliance of Ian Bell. Only Jim Troughton, who vindicated his selection with a sage 30 in a stand of 79, gave his captain much meaningful support but Bell was in the mood and form to handle the chase on his own.

WARWICKSHIRE rounded off their sensational championship revival in fine style with a ten-wicket victory over Hampshire at The Rose Bowl.

When the last day began with Hampshire starting their second innings 85 behind, the Bears looked nailed on for the draw they needed to be sure of staying in Division One. After an excellent morning for their seamers, suddenly victory was nailed on. Hampshire were 81 for eight and the Bears ready to head to Lord's with spirits sky-high.

They duly finished off the home side for 132 and chalked up 45 without loss in 16.2 overs to round off a season of such strange extremes that stats do no justice to them.

Halfway through the penultimate day, Warwickshire were still threatened by relegation before Ian Bell played one of the very best of his 31 first-class centuries.

A day later they were safe and sound in the top flight and had won more matches in the season than when they lifted the championship in 2004.

The Bears lost twice each to Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire. But they did the double over fellow bottom-halvers Essex, Kent and Hampshire, four of those wins arriving under considerable pressure late in the season.

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