Johannesburg: Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir is set to play his 100th One-Day International (ODI) match for South Africa on Sunday when he takes the field in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh at the Kennington Oval, London.
The match is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm (IST).
The 40-year-old will become only the second specialist spinner after Nicky Boje to achieve this feat. Tahir has been a spearhead of the Proteas’ attack since making his debut at the 2011 World Cup on the sub-continent, with a career tally of 164 wickets at a strike-rate of 31.
“It feels really special. If I look back I played my first game at the 2011 World Cup, it’s been an amazing journey. I always dreamt about it but I never thought I would be here one day playing in my 100th game for South Africa. It’s an absolute honour to have been given the opportunity by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the lovely people from South Africa, I am grateful to everybody,” Tahir said in a CSA statement.
“This means a lot to me, I could never express this in words. I’m a guy who has come through a lot of hardships, I lost my parents without them seeing me play international cricket. This is special to me, especially for my family. I haven’t seen my brother and sister for the last two years but they understand that this game I’m playing is important to me. If I look back I’m proud. I dreamt of this but never thought I would play with the legends and youngsters in this team,” he added.
Tahir became the oldest South African to play in a World Cup match during the Proteas’ opening match against England on May 30 but admits he is proud to be the oldest member of the squad.
He has re-written the records books on a number of occasions throughout his eight-year career. He holds the record for the best ODI bowling figures (7-45) for South Africa. The leg-spinner is the fastest South African bowler to earn 100 wickets, and more recently, become the first spinner to bowl the first over of a World Cup match.
The match against Bangladesh is the Proteas’ second league match. Tahir stressed the importance of dusting off the opening loss to England by 104 runs and focus on the next challenge of a long league format tournament.
“It’s a competition where we have to play a lot of games. We have only played one game so we can’t go and have ten meetings and blame the batsmen or the bowlers. We are a team that believes in each other and enjoys each other’s success. We will look back and realize the mistakes we have made but we need to look forward to the next games we are going to play,” he said.
“No team can give you a guarantee that they are going to win the World Cup. One thing we can promise is that we will give everything that we have got for the country and the culture of our team. That is the promise that I can give. Results are not in our hands, we have been working hard, we will learn from the mistakes we will make and which we did make. We will come back stronger,” Tahir concluded.