When Ramazan starts, Imran Tahir will begin juggling the demands of observing his Muslim faith and play a full day of international cricket for a team sponsored by a beer company.
“I don’t think it is difficult to balance professional sports with practicing your faith. It is very easy if you follow the right path,” insisted the South Africa leg-spinner. One of the world’s top spinners, Pakistan-born Tahir has played more than 100 times for the Proteas since making his international debut in 2011, after becoming a South African citizen through marriage.
Tahir is one of five Muslims to have been selected for the South African squad taking part in the tri-nation ODI series with the West Indies and Australia in the Caribbean that begins on Friday and runs until June 26.
They include former skipper Hashim Amla, who along with Tahir has been given special dispensation not to sport the logo of Castle lager, the team’s major sponsor, as Muslims are forbidden from drinking alcohol. Muslims are normally expected to fast from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramazan, which begins in different parts of the world this coming Sunday or Monday.
Tahir said that even if he did not observe a fast on a particular match day, he would still make it up at a later stage. “I am thankful to Allah that he drove me closer to him,” Tahir said.
“I try not to miss my prayers and the 30 fasts in Ramadan but even if I do miss them due to my cricket, I make up for them later on. I have come through all the different cultures of the world while playing cricket and I have had no difficulty whatsoever while following my path,” he added.