Imran Tahir has announced that he will retire from the ODIs after the 2019 World Cup in order to give the younger generation of players a chance in the format. The Pakistan-born leg-spinner has also cleared the air that he would continue playing the T20Is even though his contract ends in July.
The number of teams that Tahir has played for in his cricketing career is more than 25 which is probably a record in recognised cricket. However, in an international career spanned over almost eight years, Tahir has given his all for South Africa, making him a constant figure in the team amidst all chaos in the country’s cricket. That is going to end soon though as he wishes to make way for the next generation of spinners in the 50-over format.
"I have always wanted to play in the World Cup. It would be a great achievement for me to play for this great team. I have a mutual understanding with Cricket South Africa and going forward I decided that I would finish at the World Cup, that is why I am contracted until then," Tahir said, reported Cricbuzz.
His contact period with South Africa ends on July 31 - precisely a couple of weeks after the World Cup - which means he can available himself to be a freelance cricketer or take the Kolpak route for more income. But Tahir stated that he would love to be a part of the South African T20 team for the 2020 World Cup.
"After that, Cricket South Africa has allowed me to go and play around the world in various leagues but I would also love to play T20 cricket for South Africa. I think I have the ability and can play a role in T20 cricket for South Africa. I am grateful for the opportunity," he added.
"I would love to play for as long as I can. But there is a stage in your life where you have to make big decisions, this is one of those big decisions, it is definitely the biggest decision of my life. I also feel there are a couple of good spinners in the country who need the opportunity. We are fighting for the same spot, but looking to the future, they will have more opportunities to play for South Africa."
While Tahir represented South Africa in 95 ODIs, taking 156 wickets at an average of 24.56, he also has 37 T20I and 20 Test appearances, claiming 62 and 57 wickets respectively. The upcoming World Cup will be his third appearance for the Proteas in the showpiece event.
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