Imran Tahir. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Imran Tahir. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Proteas slow bowler Imran Tahir will call time on his international ODI career after the World Cup in England to make way for younger spinners.

Tahir‚ who with JP Duminy and Chris Morris failed to get offers of new contracts recently‚ said the decision was the biggest of his life and it came after he reached a mutual agreement with Cricket SA.

“I have always wanted to play at the World Cup and it will be a great achievement for me to do that for this great team‚ but we had a understanding with Cricket SA‚” he said.

“I would have liked to play as long as I could, but there is a stage in your life where you have to take a big decision and this is definitely the biggest decision of my life. I also think that there are a couple of spinners in the country who deserve the opportunity.

“If I have a great World Cup I will be grateful to God, but I have made up my mind. After the World Cup, Cricket SA will allow me to go wherever I want to play in other leagues around the world and I also want to play T20 cricket for SA because I have the ability and can still make a contribution.

“This move will give me opportunities to play T20 cricket around the world and I also want to give back what I have. I am grateful for what I got from Cricket SA."

The right-arm legspinner claimed three wickets for the Proteas in their convincing eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Tahir‚ who has played 95 ODIs and claimed 156 wickets for the Proteas since he made his debut against the West Indies in 2011‚ said he is available to play T20 cricket for the team because of the shorter format.

“If I continue playing 50-overs cricket‚ it is hard for guys like Tabraiz Shamsi‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Shaun von Berg and Dane Piedt. There are a lot of guys in SA who need to be given opportunities. I don’t want to lose my spot now, but I need to work double the amount in the ODIs because they are younger. I just want to be honest‚ I didn’t want to leave, but it is how it is.”