Premier South African spinner Imran Tahir will retire from One-day Internationals (ODIs) after the Cricket World Cup 2019, Cricket South Africa announced on their official Twitter handle on Monday. However, the leg-spinner will be available to be picked up for the Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). According to Cricket South Africa, Tahir wants to open up more opportunities for young spinners after his retirement from ODI cricket.
"The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will be @ImranTahirSA's final ODI appearance. The 39-year-old will still be available for T20I but wants open up more opportunities for spinners in ODI cricket," Cricket South Africa tweeted.
In a statement released by CSA, Tahir said he would re-assess his freelance future after the World Cup.
"I have always wanted to play in the World Cup," he said. "I have a mutual understanding with Cricket South Africa and going forward I decided that I would finish at the World Cup, that is why I am contracted until then. After that, Cricket South Africa has allowed me to go and play around the world in various leagues but I would also love to play T20 cricket for South Africa."
Tahir said retiring from one-day internationals was a difficult decision. "I would love to play for as long as I can," he said, "but there is a stage in your life where you have to make big decisions."
He said, though, that he would like to play for South Africa in the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
The 39-year-old made his ODI debut against the Windies in Delhi, 2011. He then went on to play 95 matches for his national team, scalping 156 wickets at an average of 24.56. He also holds a decent economy rate of 4.65 and holds three five-wicket hauls in this format.
Tahir also has 37 T20I and 20 Test appearances, claiming 62 and 57 wickets respectively.
(With AFP inputs)