Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh was ruled out of the IPL 2017 with a shoulder injury mid-March, and Rising Pune Supergiant had to find a suitable replacement. The franchise have made a brilliant decision to rope in South Africa's leggie Imran Tahir, and it could prove to be their best decision ahead of the competition, which is set to start on April 5.
Some eyebrows were raised during the IPL 2017 auction last month when Tahir went unsold, considering he is ranked the number one T20 bowler in the world. The 37-year-old, who is known for his wicket-taking celebrations too, featured in the last three seasons of the IPL, taking 29 wickets. With the inclusion of Tahir in the RPS squad, Tahir will be keen to impress in IPL, and help his new team to an impressive season.
"Australia and Rising Pune Supergiant all-rounder Mitchell Marsh was ruled out of the 10th edition of the VIVO IPL owing to a shoulder injury. As Marsh's replacement, the franchise have roped in South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir into the squad," the BCCI said in a statement.
RPS did a great job during the IPL 2017 auction, signing the most-sought after player -- Ben Stokes -- for a whopping Rs 14.5 crores, but they still looked short of bowlers. Ashok Dinda, Ishwar Pandey, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa, Stokes and Marsh (later injured) were their key bowlers. They were lacking a match-winning bowler, who could win games on their own, but RPS' bowling line-up looks better now with Tahir's inclusion.
In the past few editions of the IPL, the spinners have played a big role, and with wickets likely to aid the slower bowlers, the captain Steve Smith can definitely throw the ball to Tahir without thinking too much.
Tahir has all the ammunitions in his bowling armoury to trouble the batting order of any team. Though Tahir may go for runs, he is a wicket-taking bowler, and the more we look into Marsh's replacement, the more it looks like a sound decision to replace the Australian with Tahir.
With batsmen such as Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni and Faf Du Plessis, RPS have a solid batting line up. Bowlers play an important role in the shorter format of the game, and these batsmen will also be pleased with the franchise deciding to sign Tahir
However, all these players will need to come up with the goods in IPL 2017, and improve upon their last season's performance, where they finished second from bottom in the table.