Tabraiz Shamsi is the ICC top-ranked T20 bowler and is the leading wicket taker in 2021. Picture: ISURU SAMEERA
Tabraiz Shamsi is the ICC top-ranked T20 bowler and is the leading wicket taker in 2021. Picture: ISURU SAMEERA

Proteas top spinner Tabraiz Shamsi believes that contrary to popular belief current players are exceptional and on par with previous generations.     

The 31-year-old left-arm wrist spinner offered his views after the Proteas wrapped up the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday.

The Proteas took an unassailable 2-0 lead with a thumping nine-wicket victory and will be determined to whitewash their hosts in the third and final T20 match at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.

It was the team’s third successive T20 series triumph away from home and their sixth consecutive win, but the Proteas go into their final competitive match before they meet Australia in their World Cup opening match in Abu Dhabi on October 23 with a less than 50% win ratio in the shortest format of the game.

With a cloud hanging over embattled coach Mark Boucher and concerns over the Proteas’ team culture and environment, compounded by hot and cold performances, the team will leave for the World Cup with few giving them a chance to go all the way.

“I think a lot of it is perceptions and the way some people may want to look at the team,” said Shamsi.

Before their tour to Sri Lanka, the Proteas had won two T20 series on the road: a come-from-behind 3-2 win over world champions West Indies followed by a 3-0 whitewash of Ireland in June and July.

“I don’t think this team is rubbish. I think we are quite good. I know people speak about great teams of the past but this team is on par with them,” said Shamsi.

“We might not have as many household names, and I have mentioned previously that it is because we have not played that much international cricket. But it does not mean that the players are not good just because that they are not well known.”

The team returns home for a 10-day sojourn, which will include a team camp, before they head off to the T20 World Cup.

The Proteas will play the West Indies on October 26 in Dubai and England on November 6 in Sharjah and will face off against two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers.

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