Cricket-South Africa
Imran Tahir quit all forms of international cricket at the age of 40 years. Image Credit: AFP

Manchester: The retirement of any cricketer, or a top flight sportsperson, is always an emotional affair. South Africa’s Imran Tahir and J.P. Duminy played the last One Day International matches of their career at Old Trafford in their 10-run win over Australia on Saturday.

South African skipper Faf du Plessis gave the biggest compliment to Tahir on the impact he has created among budding youngsters. Du Plessis pointed out that many youngsters are now wanting to imitate Tahir’s style of celebration on taking a wicket by sprinting towards the boundary.

“Kids now want to do an ‘Immy’ (Tahir) when they celebrate. He’s been a fantastic cricketer, especially in terms of what he brings to our team. And he is really special because he is a very caring person.”

Du Plessis then elaborated on the contribution by Tahir and Duminy. “These are two guys I’ve got so much respect for. Imran and I started together at the Titans. He was straight out of Pakistan and it was like from Lahore into the Titans. I have played a long time with Immy, and in the IPL as well. He’s just got an incredible amount of passion and love for the game of cricket and he really commits to whichever team he plays for because he’s such a bighearted player.”

Du Plessis feels that Tahir’s energy is amazing. “He has got the same amount of energy everywhere he goes, irrespective of whether he is playing a domestic game or an international. Hands down, by far he is South Africa’s ever best celebrator and I hope that people will remember that and inspire kids as well.”

Regarding Duminy, whom he addresses as JP, the captain said: “JP has been the father figure of the team for a long time now; he’s been my soundboard in the team… a very wise man. It’s always been nice for me to have him around to talk about how I’m feeling, what the team’s feeling. He’s the guy that the team has conversations with… just in terms of how they are feeling, how they are going.”

Du Plessis feels bad that JP’s form did not follow him in recent years. “Over the last year or two, it’s probably not gone as well as he would have liked. But he’s had a great career and he can be incredibly proud of what he has produced. I think he’s played the most one-day cricket in our team right now and the most experienced. I wish him well for what lies ahead.”