LAHORE: Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir has a special feeling, coming back to the country where he grew up, played his cricket but changed allegiance after not getting the national colours.
But the wily spinner is happy that he has convinced some of the World XI players to tour Pakistan for a noble cause — to help revive international cricket in the country.
Tahir revealed that his feedback on security situation in Pakistan helped.
“Look all of the players asked me and being a local I told them very positive things because I have been coming here to meet my family and I have come to see them every year, ” Tahir said on the eve of a three-match series between Pakistan and World XI in Lahore.
“I think my answers to their questions convinced them and they have come, so thanks to them that they believed me. We have come here with a positive mind and will go positively,” said tahir, one of five South African players in the World XI led by Faf du Plessis.
The World XI takes on Pakistan in the first of three Twenty20 internationals on Tuesday. The other two matches will also be in Lahore on Wednesday and Friday.
The 38-year-old played his early first class cricket in Lahore until 2006 before migrating to South Africa. So coming back to his roots gives him a mixed feeling.
“It’s kind of mixed feeling,” said Tahir. “It’s very hard to explain, the players whom I grew up with and now coming back in a way which I really don’t know. When I grew up I always wanted to play for Pakistan and thats my home town and home ground. So its kind of a mixed feeling but I am very proud and very happy where I am in my career.
“I am thankful to Cricket South Africa for giving me the opportunity and fulfill my dream and I am just really proud of what I have been doing. It’s nice to be here for a good cause. That’s the only thing I can say. I was very positive when I was told that these three matches could happen and probably I was the first one who said that I would love to go.”
Tahir admitted that it’s normal, like in the past.
“I will be honest with you If there is an issue I can’t see it. I don’t know, probably I am a local and grew up here so I think different from others but for me it is absolutely fine by me. We are here and had a practice session and probably I will be saying after a few days that we had fantastic three games and we are going back home.
“So look I can’t see any problems, what I see and what I be hearing has positive vibe about this thing. We, as a team and me looking forward to these matches. I supported this cause and actually encouraged people to support this cause. I think this is a brilliant thing, cricket coming back to Pakistan, so probably proud moment for everyone including me.”