Imran Tahir Felt He Deserved More Respect After He Was Axed For 2021 T20I World Cup

Imran Tahir celebrates the fall of another TKR wicket at the Werner Stadium, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
Imran Tahir celebrates the fall of another TKR wicket at the Werner Stadium, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.

Imran Tahir, South Africa’s leg-spinner has said that he felt he deserved a little more respect from the team management who thought of him as worthless. He also said that since Mark Boucher became the head coach, there was no communication with him on plans for the T20 World Cup.

Imran Tahir was one of the three big omissions alongside Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris from South Africa’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in Oman and the UAE from October 17 to November 14.

 Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris
Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris-Image AP

Imran Tahir Not Feeling Great After Not Being Picked In South Africa’s T20I Squad For 2021 World Cup

Though Imran Tahir retired from ODIs after the 2019 World Cup, he had made himself available for T20Is. He is South Africa’s second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is with 61 wickets at an economy rate of 6.56. Imran Tahir last featured in a T20I for South Africa in March 2019.

“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 honoured because you give me respect. I am ready,” said Tahir in an interview to IOL Sport on Friday.

Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
Temba Bavuma Source: Twitter

“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,” added Tahir.

“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.”

The 42-year-old revealed how he tried to reach out to white-ball captain Temba Bavuma, who directed him towards convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang.

“I spoke to Temba and he said he has a meeting with Boucher the following week. Temba came back to me with a message from Boucher that I must speak to Victor. I again tried to reach him (Mpitsang) and he tried to call me on my WhatsApp number. But he didn’t realize WhatsApp doesn’t work in Dubai. Victor eventually spoke to me and said he will let me know. But then after a couple of months again I heard nothing.”

Imran Tahir said the South African team management hasn’t spoken to him about his future even as he was not picked as part of the 15-member squad for the marquee tournament, starting October 17 in Oman and the UAE. Following the T20 World Cup snub, Imran Tahir has revealed that he hasn’t received a reply from CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith, who wanted the spinner to play the ICC event.

Imran Tahir Wants To Win A World Cup For South Africa

Imran Tahir, currently playing in the Caribbean Premier League, has no plans to retire from international cricket. He is still passionate to represent South Africa in T20Is.

“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,” concluded Tahir.

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (Image Credit: BCCI/ Twitter)

Imran Tahir, who retired from ODI cricket after the World Cup in 2019, said he is not planning to retire from the shortest format of the game, adding his dream is to help South Africa win a World Cup.

Imran Tahir has been playing under MS Dhoni at CSK since 2018 in the Indian Premier League and wishes to continue playing for CSK in the near future as well.  Leg-spinner Imran Tahir had finished as the highest wicket-taker in the 2019 IPL. He has so far picked 35 wickets in 27 matches for CSK in the IPL. He has picked 82 scalps overall in IPL in 59 games averaging a decent 20.76.

South Africa squad for T20 World Cup 2021: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.

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