Tahir qualifies for Proteas
Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir was granted South African citizenship by naturalisation yesterday and is therefore eligible to play for the Proteas with immediate effect.
The 31-year-old has also fulfilled the International Cricket Council’s regulations to represent his new country, having not represented the country of his birth at any level for more than four years.
Tahir has taken more than 530 first-class wickets in 127 matches and is one of the leading wicket-takers in South Africa’s various domestic competitions.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said: “Imran Tahir, the former Pakistan A team leg-spinner, is now fully eligible to play cricket for South Africa following the decision by the South African government to grant him permanent residency.
“He also qualifies in terms of the International Cricket Council regulations to be eligible to play for South Africa after his four-year break between last playing for Pakistan A and playing in South Africa for this period.
“Imran has made South Africa his home and has been married for some time to a South African.
“He has been a leading wicket-taker in the top South African domestic competitions for the past few seasons and is highly respected by both his colleagues and his opponents.
“He certainly becomes a contender for selection to the Proteas squad now that he has met all the government, ICC and CSA regulations regarding his new nationality.”
Tahir was called up by the Proteas during last winter's home series against England before his eligibility was questioned and he was withdrawn from the squad.