Imran Tahir

Captain (cricket) Wicket-keeper South Africa national cricket team

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir.jpg
Tahir playing for South Africa against Somerset in July 2012
Personal information
Full nameMohammad Imran Tahir
Born (1979-03-27) 27 March 1979 (age 41)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
BattingRight handed
BowlingRight-arm leg spinner
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 310)9 November 2011 v Australia
Last Test3 December 2015 v India
ODI debut (cap 102)24 February 2011 v West Indies
Last ODI6 July 2019 v Australia
ODI shirt no.99
T20I debut (cap 58)2 August 2013 v Sri Lanka
Last T20I19 March 2019 v Sri Lanka
Domestic team information
1997/98–1998/99Water & Power Development Authority
2001/02–2003/04Sui Northern Gas
2004/05–2006/07Pakistan International Airlines
2012/13–2013/14Highveld Lions
2014–2016Delhi Daredevils
2018; 2020Multan Sultans
2018–presentChennai Super Kings
2018–2019Guyana Amazon Warriors
2018–2019Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI T20I FC
Matches 20 107 38 194
Runs scored 130 157 19 2,617
Batting average 9.28 7.85 19.00 14.22
100s/50s 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/4
Top score 29* 29 9* 77*
Balls bowled 3,925 5,541 845 38,291
Wickets 57 173 63 784
Bowling average 40.24 24.83 15.04 26.63
5 wickets in innings 2 3 2 53
10 wickets in match 0 0 0 11
Best bowling 5/32 7/45 5/23 8/42
Catches/stumpings 8/– 25/– 7/– 82/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 24 July 2019

Mohammad Imran Tahir (Punjabi: عمران طاہر; born 27 March 1979) is a Pakistani-born South African cricketer. A spin bowler who predominantly bowls googlies and a right-handed batsman, Tahir currently plays for South Africa in T20Is while also representing Dolphins in South Africa, Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League, Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League, Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and Surrey in the Vitality t20 Blast.

On 15 June 2016, Tahir became the first South African bowler to take seven wickets in an ODI, and also the fastest South African to reach 100 ODI wickets (58 matches).[1]

On 17 February 2017, Tahir became the fastest South African to reach 50 T20I wickets. On 4 March 2017, against New Zealand he recorded the most economical figures by a South African spinner in an ODI, with 2 wickets for 14 runs from 10 overs.[2]

On 3 October 2018, he became the fourth bowler for South Africa to take a hat-trick in ODIs.[3] In March 2019, he announced that he would quit ODI cricket following the 2019 Cricket World Cup.[4]

He represented his eighth English county club, when he joined Surrey in 2019, thus setting a new record.

He is widely famous for his running celebration after every wicket he takes, known as The Marathon.[5][2]

Personal life

Imran Tahir was born in Lahore, Pakistan,[6] and learnt the game while growing up there. Being the eldest sibling, he started working at the age of 16 as a retail salesman at Lahore's Pace Shopping Mall on a meagre salary, to support his family.[7] His fortunes changed when he was selected during trials to represent the Pakistan U-19 cricket team, eventually progressing onto the Pakistan A side on some tours. However, he failed to make the transition to the next stage.[7]

He began playing county cricket in England but did not stay there for long. He then moved to South Africa, which faced a perennial dearth of quality spinners. In South Africa, he played domestic cricket for five years and lived "hand-to-mouth for the first two years."[7]

Domestic and T20 career

As well as his first-class career in Pakistan, Tahir has had short spells with Yorkshire[8] and Middlesex in county cricket as well as playing for Staffordshire in the Minor Counties Cricket Championship.

While Tahir has represented Pakistan Under-19 cricket team's and Pakistan A, he failed to win full international honours for Pakistan. In 2005, aged 26, Tahir became a resident of South Africa. He is married to Sumayya Dildar,[9][10] a South African woman, and has represented South Africa after becoming eligible to play for them when he met his four-year residence requirement in April 2009.[11] Tahir was a member of Hampshire's 2009 Friends Provident Trophy winning squad, taking 2/50 from 10 overs in the final against Sussex. Tahir made his career high score of 77 not out in a County Championship match against Somerset on 28 August 2009.[12]

For the 2010 season Hampshire signed Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis, replacing Tahir for the season. Tahir represented Warwickshire for the 2010 season, and then represented Hampshire again until 2014.

Tahir made his 100th first-class appearance in the 2009/2010 SuperSport Series when the Titans played the Lions. On 8 January Tahir was called up to the South Africa squad in their Test series against England although he was then withdrawn one day later after Cricket South Africa revealed that he was not eligible to play.[13]

At the end of the 2009/10 season, Tahir moved from the Titans to the Dolphins. This was due to a lack of first-class cricket with the club, who preferred to play 23-year-old leg-spinner Shaun von Berg. When Tahir was called into South Africa's squad for the final Test against England, national coach Mickey Arthur said "I'm not entirely sure what the issues are between him and the Titans, but the Titans obviously aren't going to pick him because they'd rather pick the young leggie they have". He holds the record for representing highest number of teams (27) in the world.[14] He moved to the Highveld Lions in 2012.

In January 2018, he was bought by the Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 IPL auction.[15] In October 2018, he was named in Nelson Mandela Bay Giants' squad for the first edition of the Mzansi Super League T20 tournament.[16][17]

In July 2019, he was selected to play for the Amsterdam Knights in the inaugural edition of the Euro T20 Slam cricket tournament.[18][19] However, the following month the tournament was cancelled.[20] In September 2019, he was named in the squad for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants team for the 2019 Mzansi Super League tournament.[21]

In July 2020, he was named in the Guyana Amazon Warriors squad for the 2020 Caribbean Premier League.[22][23]

International career

Tahir was first called up to the South African Test team in 2010 when England were touring, but it was an error by the selection committee as he would not eligible to play for South Africa until January 2011. He was quickly withdrawn from the team then, but found his way back almost immediately after becoming eligible to play.

Tahir qualified for South Africa on 1 January 2011,[24] and was selected by them for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.[25] Although he was part of South Africa's squad to play a five-match ODI series against India before the World Cup, Tahir did not make his debut. Captain Graeme Smith explained that this was because "[Tahir] is someone we want to keep fresh and we didn't want to give people the opportunity to see too much of him."[26]

Imran Tahir debuted for South Africa in a match against the West Indies on 24 February 2011 at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi. He took 4 wickets for 41 runs in 10 overs during his debut match.[27] He impressed immediately, picking 14 wickets in the five games he played.

He made his Test debut against Australia at Cape Town in November 2011 and was a regular part of the squad for four years. In the Test series against Pakistan in UAE in 2013, he was not picked for the first Test, but he came back strongly in the second by bagging a five-wicket haul on the first day of the Test match. Tahir was left out once again after one bad Test with the ball against India and was replaced by Robin Peterson, but he continued to do well in the shorter forms of the game. He continued to be a regular member of the South African side in all formats and played Test matches in spin-friendly conditions.

In November 2012 Tahir bowled 37 overs in a Test match against Australia, with no wickets for 260 runs – the worst bowling figures in Test match history.[28] After the Test, he was dropped and replaced by Robin Peterson. In October 2013, Tahir made a comeback to Test cricket when he took 5 wickets in an innings for the first time in a Test match and guided South Africa to clinch victory against Pakistan by an innings and 92 runs in the Dubai Test, levelling the series 1–1. He took 8 wickets in the match.[29]

At the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, Tahir returned his best figures, of 4–21, in South Africa's match against the Netherlands on 27 March 2014, and was awarded Man of the match. Tahir was joint highest wicket-taker in the tournament along with Ahsan Malik from the Netherlands; both took 12 wickets in the tournament.[30]

In the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-final match between South Africa and Sri Lanka, Tahir helped South Africa to their first ever World Cup knockout win with a Man of the Match performance of 4-26.[31] At the end of 2015 he was named in the ICC ODI team of the year.[32]

In February 2017 he reached the top position in both the ODI and T20I rankings for bowlers,[33] and three months later was named T20I Cricketer of the Year at Cricket South Africa's annual awards.[34] In August 2017, he was named in a World XI side to play three Twenty20 International matches against Pakistan in the 2017 Independence Cup in Lahore.[35]

2019 Cricket World Cup

In April 2019, he was named in South Africa's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.[36][37] He played in the opening match of the tournament, against hosts England. At the age of 40 years and 64 days, Tahir became the oldest cricketer for South Africa to play in a World Cup match.[38] He bowled the opening over of the tournament, therefore becoming the first spinner to bowl the first over in a World Cup match.[39] Tahir also took the first wicket of the World Cup, dismissing England's Jonny Bairstow for a duck.[40] In South Africa's next match in the World Cup, against Bangladesh, Tahir played in his 100th ODI.[41] Tahir retired from the game after playing his team's last group stage match against Australia, along with teammate JP Duminy.


One day Internationals

Twenty20 Internationals


  1. ^ Not all of Imran's domestic teams have been included in this list.


  1. ^ "Tahir, Amla lead South Africa to another bonus-point win". ESPNcricinfo. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Tahir tops economy rates for South African spinners". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Who are SA's three other ODI hat-trick heroes?". SA Cricket Mag. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Imran Tahir to quit ODI cricket after World Cup". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Imran Tahir reveals the reason behind his trademark sprint celebration". 9 August 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Born in one country, played for another". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Hashmi, Nabeel (23 May 2015). "Story of Imran Tahir: From salesman to international star". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  8. ^ Warner, David (2011). The Yorkshire County Cricket Club: 2011 Yearbook (113th ed.). Ilkley, Yorkshire: Great Northern Books. p. 371. ISBN 978-1-905080-85-4.
  9. ^ "How Tahir's world spun around love for Sumayya". Devadyuti Das. The Times of India. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  10. ^ "An Eye on the Ball". The Mercury (South Africa). 22 October 2010. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Proteas unmask their Warnie".
  12. ^ "Tahir leaves Somerset battling to save game". Bristol Evening Post. 29 August 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Imran Tahir Withdrawn From South African Test Squad". 9 January 2010.
  14. ^ McGlashan, Andrew (11 January 2010), Confusion reigns over Tahir exclusion, Cricinfo, retrieved 12 January 2010
  15. ^ "List of sold and unsold players". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Mzansi Super League - full squad lists". Sport24. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Mzansi Super League Player Draft: The story so far". Independent Online. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Eoin Morgan to represent Dublin franchise in inaugural Euro T20 Slam". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Euro T20 Slam Player Draft completed". Cricket Europe. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Inaugural Euro T20 Slam cancelled at two weeks' notice". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  21. ^ "MSL 2.0 announces its T20 squads". Cricket South Africa. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Nabi, Lamichhane, Dunk earn big in CPL 2020 draft". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Teams Selected for Hero CPL 2020". Cricket West Indies. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Sachin the opener". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Tahir and van Wyk picked for World Cup – Yahoo! Eurosport". Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  26. ^ Moonda, Firdose (24 January 2011). "South Africa roll the dice game". Cricinfo. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  27. ^ "South Africa vs West Indies, ICC World Cup 2011". Cricket Archives.
  28. ^ "Worst. Bowling. Figures. Ever!". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. AAP. 25 November 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  29. ^ faisee. "Imran Tahir 5 Wickets Against Pakistan In 2nd Test". Daily Cricket News. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  30. ^ "Most Wickets - Men - ICC T20 World Cup 2014 - ICC Cricket Official Website". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  31. ^ "Tahir picks up man-of-the-match award". Sport.
  32. ^ "ICC Test and ODI Teams of the Year 2015 announced". ICC. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  33. ^ "Double No. 1 'special' for Tahir". ESPN Cricinfo.
  34. ^ "De Kock dominates South Africa's awards". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Faf du Plessis named captain of World XI to travel to Pakistan". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  36. ^ "Hashim Amla in World Cup squad; Reeza Hendricks, Chris Morris miss out". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Amla edges out Hendricks to make South Africa's World Cup squad". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Imran Tahir creates two records in World Cup match against England". Wio News. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  39. ^ "Cricket World Cup 2019: Imran Tahir becomes first spinner to bowl first over in World Cup". Cricket Country. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  40. ^ "England fans turn on Jonny Bairstow as South Africa's Imran Tahir rocks World Cup hosts". The Express. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  41. ^ "Imran Tahir reflects on 'amazing journey' as he prepares for 100th cap". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2 June 2019.