Tahir: I can still easily play another year, but it’s time for others

South Africa's Imran Tahir attends a training session at the Riverside Ground, in Chester-le-Street, northeast England on June 27, 2019, ahead of their 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match against Sri Lanka. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

The Proteas’ canny spinner will bow out of ODI cricket against the Aussies this weekend.

Imran Tahir’s attitude has always been to set an example for those who follow and now that the end of his ODI career is nigh, the champion leg-spinner admitted that over the last few days his mind has certainly wandered to what it’s going to feel like after his last game, the World Cup clash against Australia at Old Trafford on Saturday.

“We’ve had a few days rest so I almost feel like I could keep playing again! Look, I could easily play for another year but it’s time for others to stand up and take responsibility. You never think you’re going to finish playing cricket but in the last few days I’ve been trying to make myself busy because it’s hard to think about it, but that’s how life works. One of the reasons I’m retiring is to give others an opportunity.

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“You just hope that you leave on a good note, I hope that I leave the team on a better note than I came into it so I can send the right message to the youngsters. It’s going to be a big challenge for them with a new team but that also means more opportunity. If I fight for my spot for so many years then hopefully it will motivate others to do the same. I hope this team goes a long way,” Tahir said at the team hotel in Manchester on Thursday.

Despite the terrible economic situation Cricket South Africa find themselves in and the Kolpak-depleted team coming off their least successful World Cup ever, Tahir said he is positive about the future of South African cricket, pinning his hopes on the Mzansi Super League.

“There are lots of young cricketers coming through and I think South African cricket is in good shape, especially with the MSL. A lot more good youngsters will come through from that because that is what has happened in T20 leagues all over the world. So the future looks good, all those youngsters are an asset. I’m sure there will be some ups and downs, but things will settle.

“I will be fully available for the MSL, that’s my first priority after this World Cup because I want to send a message that I still want to play for South Africa in the T20 World Cup. I’ve had offers elsewhere but I want to stay loyal to the brand. The MSL is such a big thing, last year we all really enjoyed it, especially the youngsters, and we are all very excited about it,” Tahir said.

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