CAPE TOWN – South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir will quit the 50-over format after the Cricket World Cup this year, although he said on Monday he will remain available for Twenty20 internationals.
Tahir, 39, was not on Cricket South Africa’s list of contracted players for the 2019/20 season and has since revealed he told the country’s officials he will call it quits after the tournament in England and Wales starting on May 30.
“I would love to play for as long as I can… I have always wanted to play in the World Cup. It would be a great achievement for me to play for this great team,” Tahir said in a statement released by Cricket South Africa.
Tahir, who took 3 wickets for 26 runs in 10 overs as South Africa coasted to an eight-wicket ODI victory over Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Sunday, is competing with Tabraiz Shamsi for the frontline spinner role in the 50-over team.
But the Pakistan-born bowler, hailed as “my biggest weapon as a captain” by South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis after the Sri Lanka win, is almost certain to start at the World Cup.
Tahir says he will play the Twenty20 circuit after the World Cup, but would like to remain involved with the South African side in the shortest format.
“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,” he said.
Tahir has taken 156 wickets in 95 ODI matches with an economy rate of 4.65. He has also played in 20 tests and 37 Twenty20 international games.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Alexander Smith)