South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (AFP)
Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi will be the bowler to watch in this year’s T20 World Cup, according to former West Indies T20 World Cup winner Samuel Badree.
Shamsi will go into the rescheduled T20 World Cup in Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the number one ranked bowler in the world in the shortest format.
Badree, who was part of two T20 World Cup-winning teams with the Windies, was impressed when he watched Shamsi close-up in the series in the Caribbean just a few months ago.
“When it comes to the best spinner at the ICC T20 World Cup, it’s hard to look past Tabraiz Shamsi,” said Badree in his column on the ICC website.
“The South African is ranked No 1 for a reason and as a left-armer, he poses a significant challenge for batters. Left-arm wrist spinners are rare in international cricket – he’s very consistent, can turn the ball both ways and has tremendous control.
“I saw him recently in the Caribbean when South Africa played the West Indies and he was able to spin webs around the West Indian batters.”
Shamsi was named man of the series after taking seven wickets across the five matches but, more importantly, only went at an economy rate of four runs to the over.
Badree believes that Shamsi will play a major role and believes he is “worth his weight in gold” as SA searches for their elusive World Cup title.
“I see him playing a major role for his team with the ball – he has the ability to bowl in different phases of the game, too, which is important,” said Badree.
“His captain Temba Bavuma will be able to call on him to deliver at any time in the innings and that’s worth its weight in gold.”
The Proteas kick off their T20 World Cup campaign when they take on Australia in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, 23 October.
Badree insists that spin will play a major factor and is concerned that his countrymen might not defend their title.
“Most of the teams have quality spinners in their ranks – at least two of them, because of the conditions teams predict that they will face. They can all win games single-handedly,” said Badree.
“That said, if there’s one area of the West Indies team that I’m worried about, it’s the spin department. It’s an area of shortcoming for them.
“Spin was a big strength of ours when we won the tournament in 2012 and 2016. We had Sunil Narine, Sulieman Benn and myself who could all use the new ball in any game,” he continued.
“Spin is always important and has an integral role in T20 cricket – we’ve seen that in previous editions of the T20 World Cup.
“It’s being played in the UAE and Oman, where we have traditionally come to expect slow conditions. I foresee spinners having a big impact in this tournament.”