Imran Tahir shifted base from Pakistan to South Africa for non-cricketing purposes. In the meanwhile, he kept playing for various cricket teams and announced himself on the big stage.
He has the most T20I wickets for South Africa and most ODI wickets as a spinner by a South African. He last played a Test match in 2015 and retired from ODIs after ICC World Cup 2019.
* Last updated on 31 December 2019
A 16-year-old Imran made his way into the Pakistan U19 team by playing in local games and then performing well at the selection trials. His domestic career began in 2003 when he played for Middlesex in the County Championship. That was the beginning of a long domestic career for the leg spinner.
He moved to South Africa a couple of years later but continued to play for the Lahore Lions. He switched his county team to Yorkshire in 2007. In the same year, he played for the Titans in the South African domestic competition. However, he changed his county team once again and registered to play for Hampshire in 2008.
He spent 6 years with the team before moving to Nottinghamshire in 2015. However, he did spend a year in 2010 with Warwickshire before coming back. His performances for Hampshire and the Dolphins in the South African domestic tournaments earned him a national call-up for South Africa.
Tahir once again changed his county team and then joined Derbyshire in 2017. In 2018, he went to Durham and then to Surrey in 2019.
Imran Tahir made his ODI debut against West Indies cricket team in the ICC World Cup 2011 on 24 February. He picked 4/41 and restricted them to 222. The Proteas comfortably chased down the target with 7 wickets in hand and 43 balls to spare. He took 10 more wickets in the remaining four games that he played in the tournament.
He made his Test debut nine months later against Australia in Cape Town on 9 November 2011. The Aussies scored 284 in the first innings as Tahir failed to pick up a wicket in his 10 overs and conceded 35 runs. Proteas then got all out for 96. They too produced a magnificent bowling effort and skittled out the Aussies for just 47. However, Tahir did not get a chance to bowl in the second innings. The home side chased down the total with 8 wickets in hand.
He did not get enough opportunities in the next 12 months and his career dropped even further in November 2012. In a Test against Australia at Adelaide, Tahir bowled 37 overs in two innings and returned with 0/180 and 0/80. His figures of 0/260 are the worst bowling figures ever recorded in a Test match.
He was in and out of the side for almost all of his career. He got a chance to represent South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup 2014. He took 21 wickets in the tournament and ended up being the joint-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with Ahsan Malik from Netherlands.
He earned his place in the squad for the ICC ODI World Cup 2015. He took 15 wickets in 8 games, which was the joint-highest for a spinner in the tournament. He bowled wonderfully and proved to be their X-factor. They were knocked out in a thrilling semi-final against New Zealand.
Tahir was the second-highest wicket-taker in ODIs in 2015 (highest as a spinner). For his achievement, he was included in the ICC ODI Team of the Year 2015.
By February 2017, he was the No. 1 ranked bowler in ODIs as well as T20Is. He was later announced as the Cricketer of the Year by Cricket South Africa. He then toured to Pakistan for the World XI to play a three-match T20I series.
In 2019, he became the oldest South African cricketer to play in the World Cup. He added 11 wickets to his tally in the 2019 edition and became the highest wicket-taker for South Africa in World Cup cricket. He has taken 40 wickets followed by pacer Allan Donald with 36 wickets to his name.
Tahir retired from ODI cricket after the ICC ODI World Cup 2019.
The South African has played in the T20 Blast, Ram Slam T20 Challenge, Indian Premier League (IPL), Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Mzansi Super League (MSL).
In the T20 Blast hosted by England, Tahir has played for Hampshire (2008-09 and 2011-14), Warwickshire (2010), Nottinghamshire (2015), Derbyshire (2017), Durham (2018) and Surrey (2019) and along the years. He has played 86 matches and picked up 102 wickets in his career. He has a career best of 4/14 and an economy of just 6.87. He has three more four-wicket hauls under his belt.
Tahir has played for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the Mzansi Super League 2018. He picked up 21 wickets in 16 innings and is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the innings.
In the IPL, he has represented the Delhi Daredevils (2014-16), Rising Pune Supergiant (2017) and Chennai Super Kings (2018-19). He has picked 79 wickets in 55 games so far. He recorded 4/12 as his best figures and has a notable strike rate of 15.5. This strike rate is the best for the top 50 wicket-takers in the history of the IPL.
Also see - Imam Ul Haq Biography
Imran played for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL in 2018 and 2019. He has picked up 32 wickets for them in 21 matches. His best figures are 4/22 and boasts of an economy rate of just 5.79.
In the PSL, the South African played for the Multan Sultans in 2018. He took 13 wickets in 10 matches at an economy rate of 7.24.
Imran was born to Ramzan Tahir and Atiya Tahir in Pakistan. He has two younger brothers. Imran got married to Sumayya Dildar on 20 January 2007. He has a son named Gibran.