Home Opinion and Features Tahir ‘s done his adopted country proud

Tahir ‘s done his adopted country proud

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Tahir has announced that he will retire from the Proteas’ limited-overs team after his third appearance in the global jamboree

Imran Tahir receives the ball as he prepares to bowl during second ODI match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Centurion. Photo: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

THIRTY-SEVEN. That is the number of different teams Imran Tahir has played for in his professional cricket career.

But there is one that Tahir will always be associated with. That’s the Proteas of course. Since pledging his allegiance to his adopted nation, there have been few that have worn the national crest and represented it with more exuberance and passion.

Tahir is the embodiment of “Protea Fire”. Everything that has been Pakistan’s loss is South Africa’s gain.

Unfortunately this very special journey will culminate at the World Cup later this year in England.

Tahir has announced that he will retire from the Proteas’ limited-overs team after his third appearance in the global jamboree.

Tahir will be 40, and everyone will wish him well as he calls time on a glorious One-Day International career. He will continue to play T20 cricket for the Proteas but will no longer be available in the 50-over format.

It is a hugely consequential moment in South African cricket, for Tahir was not just once ranked the No1 ODI bowler in the world, but the charismatic leg-spinner changed the entire culture of spin bowling in his adopted land.

For too long South Africans viewed spinners, particularly of the wrist spin variety, as too much of a risk. Tahir singularly changed the mindset with his wicket-taking mentality.

The Proteas were no longer forced to depend solely on their fast men for wickets with the new ball before basically hanging on until the final overs arrived.

They now had a genuine strike bowler in the middle overs and Tahir offered his captains a dimension that made South Africa the envy of the cricket world.

But it was not just Tahir’s talent that won over South Africans. He celebrated every wicket like it was his last, running metres and metres down the ground displaying all the excitement of a teenager on debut.

Quite simply, he is a special and much-loved figure.

South Africa will miss you Immy Bhai. Don’t go too far away once you are done.