South Africa are gearing up to play Australia in their final league match of the ICC World Cup 2019 and on the other side, emotions and feelings will overflow as they also get ready to say goodbye to one of the best players they have had in recent times. The match will be the final one for Imran Tahir, who bids 50-overs international cricket goodbye after a chequered career. The 40-year-old leg-spinner had declared that he will end his time in the format before with the conclusion of South Africa’s journey in the tournament.
This will be his 107th appearance in South African colours, which will bring down the curtains on one of the most inspirational stories in the cricket world. Hailing from Pakistan, Tahir started his international career in the 2011 World Cup for the Proteas. Tahir, who was born in Lahore, Punjab, made a name for himself in Pakistan junior cricket, playing for their U19 team and Pakistan A side.
However, love brought him to South Africa, as he followed a girl, his soon to be his wife to the country via the UK. Since then, he has played 20 Tests and 106 ODI matches, picking 57 and 172 wickets respectively for the Proteas.
It makes me feel very sad and emotional
“It was always my dream to play international cricket and I’m really grateful to everyone who helped me along on the way. They accepted me for who I was, the guy who came from overseas. It makes me feel very sad and emotional that I’m going to leave. It’s a big moment of my life –- I always wanted to play cricket and play as long as I could and now is the right time to go,” Tahir was quoted as saying by First Post.
“It will be quite a hurtful and sad moment for me but I’ve prepared myself for that, so hopefully it will go well for me and the team,” Tahir further added.
He also mentioned that the Proteas team will not involve in any sledging or anything as they play against Steve Smith and David Warner for the first time since the ball- tampering scandal. But he mentioned that the team will not hold back if they initiate the verbals.
“If it’s coming from them, then obviously we won’t be holding back. But I think it’s going to be a fair game of cricket. It’s at the back of everyone’s mind, but we don’t have to think about that. We are looking forward to the game,” Tahir signed off.