South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who was roped in the Rising Pune Supergiant's (RPS) squad in place of injured all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, has admitted that every wicket he took during his side's seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) clash was `special`.
Ranked as No. 1 bowler in ODIs and T20Is, Tahir went unsold in the 2017 IPL Player Auction held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bengaluru on February 20.
However, a shoulder injury to Marsh opened a door for the South African, who showed his worth by bagging three for 28 in RPS's victory at the Maharashtra Cricket Association ( MCA) Stadium last evening.
Mumbai was at 41 for no loss after consecutive sixes from England batsman Jos Buttler when RPS skipper Steven Smith brought on Tahir, who bowled Parthiv Patel around his legs before dismissing Rohit Sharma and Buttler within the space of three balls in his next over.
'Every wicket is special for me. The way they were playing it looked like they were going to end up getting 200. I always love challenges and when I bowl I always look to get wickets. I was very fortunate to get Patel out and obviously, the next two wickets were very special. Those guys were really good against spin bowling and it was very special for me that I got them out and [I'm] really really happy with the way the ball came out. I've been here for one week and I'm trying to do well because it's a new team and they gave me a lot of confidence so probably credit goes to them,' Tahir told iplt20.com after the match.
The 38-year-old said he always heads into the field with an aim to fight and try to contribute as much as possible for his side.
'I always come on the ground with a smile on the face but inside I'm always ready to fight and try to give as much as I can. I love doing what I'm doing and I always look for a challenge,' he said.
The leggie, however, expressed disappointment that he went unsold at the IPL auctions when he had a base price of Rs.50 lakhs. He was released by Delhi Daredevils after an unimpressive IPL season last year, bagging five wickets in four matches he played at an economy rate of 8.62, ESPNcricinfo reported.
'I was obviously sad not to be part of this league [in the auction] but there's nothing I can do about it. But really relieved and pleased with myself about playing the way I've been playing and just deliver it today,' he said.
'I'm grateful to god and my family supported me, especially my wife. I was quite down when I didn't get picked in the league. But our life carries on and I came here to prove myself again, that's what my job is. I don't blame anyone for not picking me. My job, if someone picks me, is to come and perform, that's what we do for a living,' Tahir added.
RPS will now take on Kings XI Punjab ( KXIP) in their second IPL match at the Holkar Stadium in Indore