Imran Tahir's world record bowing figures in Adelaide beg the question: Will he follow in the footsteps of Michael Clarke and his MC329 line of cricket gear, and launch his own merchandise range under the label IT260? The South African leg-spinner on Sunday completed the worst Test bowling analysis without a wicket in a single match ever, going for a total of 260 runs across both of Australia's innings. The Pakistani-born 33-year-old, who has played first-class cricket for nearly 20 teams in a transient career, exceeded by one run the total of another Pakistan bowler Khan Mohammad, who was belted for 259 runs without luck when Garry Sobers pummelled his 365 not out in Kingston in 1958. In a cheeky nod to history, Clarke declared almost immediately after Tahir made a rapid overtaking of Mohammad's mark, brought about by some late-order haymaking from Ben Hilfenhaus. The Tonk thought for a second about ringing Mohammad for comment - as media types tend to do when records are broken - but ran into two hurdles: the Karachi phone book, and the fact that he died three years ago at the age of 81. Tahir, cheered when Graeme Smith introduced him at various times for more punishment, would have avoided the notoriety had he not overstepped the mark when having Ed Cowan caught on Saturday. Even so, his return would have made for ugly reading. Taking heavy treatment at times is part of the leg-spinner's lot but Tahir's teammates have tipped him to bounce back from the ignominy of Adelaide.
If Ricky Ponting's spectacular but stuttering Test career winds up imminently, he could at least prolong his sporting career via his other love, golf. That's the opinion of Dean Jones, the 52-Test batsman who at 51 has this year joined the PGA Legends Tour while also working as batting coach for South Australia. Jones, off scratch, has shared a fairway with Ponting before and has no doubt the 37-year-old, off a handicap of one, could make a serious go of the main Australian golf tour. ''He hits it a fair bit longer than me,'' said Jones, who has three second placings on the seniors circuit already. ''He'd have to work pretty hard on his game but he wouldn't have to change too much. Just a good year's hard work on his game and he'd be right, I reckon.'' Ponting is close friends with former amateur star Scott Arnold, who won his first professional tournament at the Victorian Open in January.
The colourful England off-spinner Graeme Swann is a huge fan of Nathan Lyon's new back-spinning delivery ''Jeff''. So much so he is jokingly coming up with names for his own fictional mystery ball. In Mumbai, where he is playing for England in the second Test against India, Swann, harking back to Leslie Nielsen's opera singer in The Naked Gun, tweeted: ''Nathan Lyon has named his variation ball 'Jeff'. Magnificent. I hereby christen my new mystery ball 'Enrico Pallazzo'.''
Donald shows hand
Allan Donald put his hat in the ring last year to be Australia's fast bowling coach and now we might know why. The former Proteas speedster believes Australia are developing better young fast bowling talent than his home country, which is a frank admission given Donald is in charge of South Africa's pace stocks. Exciting quicks James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are among the next generation of pacemen progressing in Australia despite being dogged by injury. ''Australia probably have the edge in youngsters coming through, where in South Africa there's not that many young kids putting up their hand at the moment,'' Donald told Channel Nine's The Cricket Show. ''We're still working on that at the moment.'' Donald, who took 330 Test wickets, had described the trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander as the best South African pace attack he had seen, but his comments might provide an insight as to why the South Africans had selected just one back-up quick, Rory Kleinveldt, in their touring party.
THE WORST TEST BOWLING RECORDS ... EVER
Imran Tahir (South Africa), 0-260 v Australia (2012)
Khan Mohammad (Pakistan), 0-259 v West Indies (1958)
Nicky Boje (South Africa), 0-221 v Sri Lanka (2006)
Ray Price (Zimbabwe), 0-211 v South Africa (2001)
Rajindra Dhanraj (West Indies), 0-191 v England (1995)
Devon Malcolm (England), 0-188 v West Indies (1990)
Ray Price (Zimbabwe), 0-187 v Australia (2003)
Ian Salisbury (England), 0-184 v Pakistan (1992)
Maurice Tate (England), 0-184 v Australia (1929)
Danish Kaniera (Pakistan), 0-183 v Sri Lanka (2009)