Proteas Spinner Imran Tahir ‘Disappointed’ Not to Represent Pakistan in International Cricket
ImranTahir celebrates after taking a wicket©AFP

Veteran spinner Imran Tahir has made a name for himself while representing South Africa in international cricket for nearly a decade but the cricketer still holds a regret of not being able to represent his homeland Pakistan. Tahir, who retired from ODIs last year, said his time playing cricket in Pakistan played a major role in shaping his cricketing career but it will remain a big disappointment that he could not break into the Pakistan national side.

The 41-year-old Tahir moved to South Africa and ended up playing for its national team while also representing various franchises in T20 league the world over. “I used to play cricket in Lahore and it played a major role in where I am. I played most of my cricket in Pakistan but did not get a chance here. I am disappointed about that,” Tahir told Geo Super on Wednesday.

Tahir lived in Lahore till 2005, advancing through the ranks of age-group cricket, even breaking into the Pakistan U-19 side and the Pakistan A side. However, an international call-up always eluded the leg-spinner.

“It was hard leaving Pakistan, but God blessed me, and most of the credit for playing for South Africa goes to my wife,” Tahir added.

He credited his wife – Sumayya Dildar, a South African woman, for the move to South Africa in 2005. Tahir was then 26, he became eligible to play for South Africa when he met his four-year residence requirement in 2009.

Tahir has so far featured in 20 Tests, 107 ODIs and 38 T20Is for South Africa and has scalped 57, 173 and 63 wickets respectively in the three formats. He retired from the longer versions of the game after the World Cup in England last year.

Tahir continues to play T20s in franchise leagues, also having represented the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League.