England in SA

Tahir's selection shocker

2010-01-10 22:31
Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)
Christo Buchner

Johannesburg – Imran Tahir does not know which way to turn as his excitement at being picked for the national cricket team turned into a massive disappointment when he lost his place a day later.

Tahir (30) was on Friday unexpectedly picked for the 15-man squad for the fourth test against England, which starts at the Wanderers on Thursday.

The expectation was not that he would play, but that it was simply done so that he could get acquainted with the national set-up for the tour to India later this month.

He was a certainty for that tour as Proteas coach Mickey Arthur views him as an aggressive leg-spinner that can be an important weapon on the spin-friendly pitches of the sub-continent.

“My attorney is busy investigating the matter and solving the problems. I arrived in South Africa in 2006 – about three-and-a-half years ago – and was never aware that I would require a South African passport,” said Tahir.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola said that he had taken the decision to withdraw the former Pakistani as there was uncertainty over whether he was available for South Africa.

“He has already qualified to play for South Africa, but he does not yet have a passport and we don’t want to end up in a similar situation as SA Rugby when questions were asked about Beast Mtawarira,” said Majola.

Majola expressed his unhappiness with the national selectors as they had been told that Tahir should not be part of their plans.

Majola could not supply a reason why Tahir, who is married to a South African woman from Durban, does not yet have a South African passport.

It is understood that he had already met the residency requirements to be available for South Africa in April last year.

There is a different theory that suggests he will only be available this April and that a mistake was made with the residency requirements as stated by the International Cricket Council.

Tahir, who has played for the Titans since living in South Africa, has decided to cut ties with the franchise. As of the beginning of next season he will be a member of the Dolphins.

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