Imran Tahi.Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Proteas leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, has confirmed the Cricket World Cup will be his final appearance for South Africa in One-Day International (ODI) cricket.

Tahir is currently contracted to Cricket South Africa (CSA) until July 31, and will re-assess his freelance future following the tournament.

The 39-year-old says he would still like to play T20 International cricket for the Proteas ahead of the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, but would like to open up more opportunities for other fledging spinners in the country in the 50-over format.  

“I have always wanted to play in the World Cup,” he said. “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.

“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.

“I would love to play for as long as I can,” he admitted. “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.”

Tahir was instrumental in the Proteas’ eight-wicket win in the first ODI against Sri Lanka on Sunday, producing a strong return of 3/26 in a match-changing performance. He looked back to his best following a quiet series against Pakistan, and hopes to continue with the form in an important season.    

“I felt really good,” he said of his performance on Sunday. “I always want to take wickets in every game that I play and it happened yesterday. I am grateful that I played my role for the team.”

The second ODI takes place at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday. Play is scheduled to start at 1pm local time. 

 African News Agency