Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa spinner Imran Tahir has announced that he will retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup in England and Wales later this year.
Tahir made the announcement after the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg, where he took figures of 3-26 off his 10 overs to help lead the Proteas to an eight-wicket win.
While the 39-year-old will bid adieu to the 50-over format after the World Cup, he confirmed that he will keep playing Twenty20 Internationals at least until the 2020 World Twenty20 in Australia.
“I have always wanted to play in the World Cup,” Tahir said in a statement released by Cricket South Africa as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “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.”
Tahir noted that his retirement will open the door to other spinners in South Africa, who “need the opportunity” to prove their worth.
“If you look at 50-over cricket there’s guys like (Tabraiz) Shamsi, (Aaron) Phangiso, Shaun von Berg, Dane Piedt… there are a lot of guys who need [the] opportunity,” Tahir said. “I don’t want to lose my spot. I have to work twice as hard, they are younger than me. I just want to be honest, I don’t want to leave, but that’s how it is.
“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 has represented South Africa in 95 ODIs to date and has taken 156 wickets at an average of 24.56.