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Tahir to call time on ODI career after Cricket World Cup

Imran Tahir was born in Pakistan but qualified to play for South Africa after obtaining permanent residency and made his ODI debut in February 2011 against the West Indies.

South Africas Imran Tahir bowls during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 27 February, 2015. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Veteran Proteas leg spinner Imran Tahir will retire from One Day International cricket at the conclusion of the Cricket World Cup in England this year, but he will still play T20 International cricket.

Tahir, who turns 40 at the end of March, was born in Pakistan but qualified to play for South Africa after obtaining permanent residency and made his ODI debut in February 2011 against the West Indies before making his Test debut in November of that year.

In Test whites Tahir played 20 times while picking up 57 wickets, but his most prolific format was the 50-over format where he has played 95 times to date and picked up 156 wickets with his guile and deadly variations.

Tahir was not offered a new Cricket South Africa contract this past week and will make his final swansong in 50 overs cricket at the World Cup.

Tahir confirmed the news that he will retire from International cricket after he helped his side claim a comfortable 8 wicket win against Sri Lanka in the first ODI at the Wanderers on Sunday, by picking up impressive figures of 3/26 in his allotted 10 overs.

“I have always wanted to play the World Cup and it would be a great achievement for me to play for this great team, but CSA and I had a mutual understanding going forward into the future that I always wanted to finish after the World Cup and I’m contracted till then.

“After that CSA will allow me to go and play all over the World in the various leagues but I also want to still play T20 cricket for South Africa.

“I’m very grateful for everything that I have received from Cricket South Africa and I really hope I can do well in the World Cup.”

Asked if he would reconsider his decision after the World Cup, Tahir said he wanted to see other spinners in the country get an opportunity to play for the Proteas.

“I would love to play for as long as I can, and I have mentioned that before, but there comes a point in your life where you have to make big decisions, and this is definitely the biggest decision of my life. I think there are a couple of very good spinners in the country, and as much as I don’t want them to play because we are all fighting for the same spot, but looking into the future they deserve to have more opportunities.”

South Africa will get their Cricket World Cup campaign underway when they face the host country England at the Oval in London on 30 May.