“Television hosts can only be answered with ground performances”
S160,000.00 Not your average buy in any player auction, let alone the Caribbean Premier League. The amount paid by CPL franchise Guyana Amazon Warriors for Pakistani left-arm, seam bowling all-rounder Sohail Tanvir left inexperienced cricket-watchers gasping in surprise. Of course, being bracketed in the same pay league as the likes of hard-hitting West Indies striker Chris Gayle, medium pace all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and left-handed South African batsman David Miller has done nothing to dent his stature.
Being paid $30,000.00 more than marquee players AB De Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara, led his detractors to say his selling price was buoyed by the exclusion of left-arm quicks such as Aussie Mitchell Starc from this year’s draft. But for every critic, there is a worthy supporter. His performances in previous CPLs have not gone unnoticed and former England bowler Darren Gough believes that West Indian pitches help pacers like Tanvir, who have mixed deliveries. Tanvir agrees with him. “A bowler cannot succeed here with just one pace, variation is necessary.”
Having represented St Lucia Zouks and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in earlier CPL editions, suffice to say that Tanvir’s previous stints have given him enough of a boost to inflict damage on the batting line-ups in his first four games. He removed both openers against his old team St Lucia Zouks and so far, his prized scalps have included the likes of Chris Gayle (out for a duck), Brendon McCullum (opening ball), fellow national teammates Umar Akmal (wicket-keeper) and Imad Wasim (middle stump).
Starting off with an impactful 4-20 in his opening game against his former team St Kitts, this achievement has special resonance for him. He believes “For any match, the start is important, in T20 if you take a wicket in the first two overs, your opponents immediately go on the back foot.”
Leading the wicket-taking tally in a tournament featuring South Africa’s formidable fast bowler Dale Steyn, is laudable. At time of going to press, Tanvir had taken 13 wickets from 7 matches, with an average of 11.53, whilst Steyn has 12 wickets from 8 matches (Steyn did not bowl in the rain-affected match against Barbados Tridents and has left the tournament due to contractual obligations with Cricket South Africa).
If fans are wondering how Tanvir got to this juncture, the official CPL website provides an explanation for his success to date. ‘He perplexes so many batsmen because he bowls off the wrong foot and rolls his arm twice when delivering the ball.’
To Sohail Tanvir’s advantage is the fact that Guyana Amazon Warriors owner businessman Ranjisingh Ramroop is both a businessman and media mogul, with the Guyana Times and 5 radio frequencies under his belt. To be associated with media-owned teams such as Karachi Kings & GAW, has only helped Tanvir raise his profile and subsequently, his brand endorsement potential.
However, Tanvir was not included in the pre-England Kakul training camp for the Pakistan national team and every so often, rumours have surfaced that his coaches were not happy with his fitness levels. “I don’t know why people question my fitness levels. To date, I have never had to leave any tour due to bad fitness levels. I have played an entire series without questions from our physiotherapist or Team Manager. Television hosts can only be answered with ground performances. I played in a one-day tournament before the Kakul camp, which we played in extreme heat.”
He adds, “I am now based in Lahore where I trained for two months at the National Cricket Academy. I also participated in the pre-England skills camp and I feel that effort is paying off now.”
Of course he could not be let off the hook without being asked why earlier this year, he did not play for Pakistan Super League franchise, Karachi Kings, as he is doing now. If he finds the question inflammatory, he does not give anything away. “Being a professional, one always hopes to perform well. For Karachi Kings I bowled well but was unlucky in getting wickets. My economy rate was around 6.0-7.0. For an opening or death bowler in T20, this is an okay achievement although yes, I should have got more wickets.”
For the last leg of CPL before the playoffs, he will play two matches in the hitherto unchartered territory of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Although he would be hoping for a national team recall, his current performance justifies that for now his opponents have been clean bowled.