South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir has expressed anguish after being excluded from the South African squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The 42-year-old stated that he will continue playing till 50 if that’s what it takes to prove his loyalty to the country.
Alongside Tahir, Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris were left out from the squad which will head to UAE for the World Cup. Although Tahir has already retired from other formats, he had made himself available for the T20s. He even revealed his conversation with CSA director, Graeme Smith, who assured Tahir of playing in the ICC event.
“I am not feeling great that I am not in the squad. Last year Graeme Smith spoke to me and said I want you to play in the World Cup, which was in Australia. I said obviously I am available and excited and honored because you give me respect. I am ready. I am working hard and you can see my performances in all these leagues. He said that’s why he wants me.”
“He also said he was going to speak to a few other guys like AB (de Villiers) and Faf (du Plessis). They put me on the Proteas group and everything, but then nobody contacted me. After a few months, I texted Smith and Boucher and nobody replied to me. Since Boucher has become coach, he has not contacted me once to tell me what his plans are. It’s really sad man. I served the country for 10 years. I think I deserve a little more respect than these guys thinking I’m worthless,” Imran Tahir was quoted as saying to IOL Sport on Friday.
“I have always wanted to win a World Cup for South Africa” – Imran Tahir
Tahir has represented South Africa in over 150 matches across formats. He was originally born in Pakistan but made his way to South Africa after failing to get into the Pakistan national side. Tahir remains loyal to the Proteas after they gave him a chance and he wants to repay the opportunity by helping them win a World Cup.
“I want to tell the people of South Africa my story because I played with my heart. Whether people accept me as a South African or not, I am South African. My wife is South African and my family is South African. My child is born in South Africa, so it’s home to me. I have always wanted to win a World Cup for South Africa to say thank you for the opportunity this country has given me, so I am not planning on retiring. I am going to play until 50 if I have to,” he concluded.
Imran Tahir last played an international game for South Africa in March 2019. He continues to play franchise cricket and most recently participated in The Hundred.