Tahir: Thanks for the love, South Africa

Tahir: Thanks for the love, South Africa

As Imran Tahir prepares to play his final ODI game for the Proteas before he calls time on his career, the 40-year-old has reflected on his emotional connection with South Africa.

Imran Tahir speaks to the press / Myron Naicker
Imran Tahir speaks to the press / Myron Naicker

The Pakistan born leg-spinner, who made his international debut back in 2011, will earn his 107th cap against Australia at Old Trafford on Saturday.

“It keeps me going, I feel the love, people respect me,” Tahir said when asked about the adoration he has received over the years from the South African cricket public.

“I remember standing in Gateway [Shopping Mall], I was surrounded by people, white, black, Indian, we just beat Australia five nil and that was an amazing moment. I have seen the rainbow nation,” Tahir said.

Tahir is South Africa’s all-time leading ODI spinner with 172 sticks to date, he admits that playing his final game will be an emotional affair for him.

READ: Tahir to retire after World Cup

“I am actually trying to keep myself busy with the family. When I think about it, I do get emotional,” Tahir said.

“I never used to think I will finish cricket, it is sad, but I hope that I leave it on a good note,” Tahir added.

He may be departing the ODI scene, but Tahir will still be available for T20 selection and plans to play at next year’s World Cup in Australia.

“I could have easily played another year, my fitness is good and I feel good. This is about giving opportunities to youngsters,” Tahir said.

He continued, “I think we have a lot of youngsters coming through. We are in a good state, especially with the Mzansi League, a lot more youngsters will come through because that is what happens around the world.”

ALSO: 100 up for Imran Tahir

He also expressed a desire to coach in South Africa beyond his retirement.

“I really hope that I can be involved in South African cricket,” Tahir said.

“I think any role, to be honest, especially helping the youngsters coming through,” Tahir concluded.

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