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World Cup nod for Tahir

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Imran Tahir & Keith Barker

Imran Tahir, left, inspired Warwickshire to victory in last year's Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord's. The leg-spinner is now set to feature in the World Cup for South Africa

Highly-rated leg-spinner Imran Tahir has been added to South Africa's preliminary World Cup squad, making him almost a certainty to be picked for the tournament on the sub-continent.

Jonathan Vandiar has dropped out of the 30-man list after what appears to have been an amicable decision reached between the national selectors and the Lions batsman.

Both players are uncapped, and while Vandiar is still 20, Tahir is 31 and at the height of his powers. The country also lack a quality attacking spinner.

The Pakistan-born bowler has been talked about as a future Proteas star for more than a year now, but was yet to legally qualify.

He was finally granted South African citizenship by naturalisation on January 1, prompting the selectors to immediately call him up for the five-match one-day series against India starting this week.

"We feel that we need to widen our bowling options," convener of selectors Andrew Hudson said.

"I have discussed the matter with Jonathan and I would like to express my gratitude to him for withdrawing gracefully.

"He knows he is very much part of our plans going forward."

Tahir, who is married to a South African woman, was first called up over a year ago against England and then withdrawn due to uncertainty over his eligibility.

The Dolphins bowler has been a consistent first-class performer in recent seasons, both domestically and in the LV= County Championship where he has played for Hampshire, Middlesex, Warwickshire and Yorkshire.

He has taken 42 wickets in five games so far during the ongoing SuperSport Series, while his 15 wickets in the 40-over competition at an average of 17 also proved to the selectors that he could do the job in the limited-overs game.

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