Cardiff: Imran Tahir, South Africa’s strike weapon at 40 years, says it’s “hard to believe” that he will be playing his 100th One Day International when his team takes on Bangladesh at The Oval ground on Sunday.
The humble and cheerful Tahir expressed his happiness on achieving the landmark, while recalling the hardships he had to undergo to reach here and earn respect from everyone.
“It feels really special. I think this is as special as my first game in the 2011 World Cup. This journey has been amazing. I always dreamt of this, yet I find it hard to believe that I will be playing my 100th game for South Africa. It’s an absolute honour and privilege being given the opportunity from South Africa and the lovely people from South Africa.”
Lahore-born Tahir described how he struggled to make a mark. “This (playing 100 matches) means a lot to me, something that I find hard to express in words. I’ve seen a lot of hardship and my parents have not seen me play international cricket. These things are really special to me, for my family.”
Much in demand around the world to play in Twenty20 franchise cricket, Tahir has been playing on the road consistently for South Africa as well. “I have not seen my brothers or sisters in the last two years. So this country that I represent and every game I play is really important to me, and I’m really proud of it. I’m also grateful to my family who understand why I am away from them.”
Tahir admits that he is happy to look back on his career and feel proud about it. “To be honest, I never thought I would be playing with some of the legends of the game. Also, there are many youngsters now who I believe are going to be legends for this South African team.”
His humility shone through when he said: “I’m really grateful for all that I’ve got from South Africa and I hope that I am able to pay that back somehow. I’m really looking forward to this World Cup, and I will be very proud if I could do well for my team.”
When asked whether South Africa can wreck the impressive Bangladesh batting line-up, he remarked: “Everyone knows they (Bangladesh) play spin really well and you know they can be very dangerous on their day. It’s going to be a good challenge, just like any other game. However, we are fully prepared and hopefully we will have a good day as a team.”
Despite the loss in the first game, Tahir is happy that his team restricted England to 311 in the first match. “It’s just that they (England) played very well on that day, but I still think restricting them to 311 was a great effort from us. We’ve learnt from our mistakes. There will be a pressure, but we look forward to the challenge and the pressure tomorrow.”
Catch the match
South Africa vs Bangladesh
The Oval, London
Match starts at 1.30pm
Live telecast on OSN Sports HD Network