• Tahir: I deserve more respect than these guys thinking I’m worthless

    Imran Tahir says the lack of communication and his ultimate omission from the Proteas’ T20 World Cup squad is “really sad” and that he felt disrespected and “worthless”.

    Tahir was not part of the extended 18-man squad announced by CSA on Thursday, with other stalwarts such as Chris Morris and Faf du Plessis also excluded.

    In an exclusive interview with IOL Sport, Tahir revealed how he received no communication from Proteas coach Mark Boucher, battled to get any answers from convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang, and was misled by director of cricket Graeme Smith.

    Tahir has retired from ODI cricket but remained available for T20Is. He is South Africa’s second-highest T20I wicket-taker with 61 wickets at an average of 14.08 and economy rate of 6.56.

    “I am not feeling great that I am not in the squad. Last year Graeme Smith spoke to me and said I want you to play in the World Cup, which was in Australia. I said obviously I am available and excited and honoured because you give me respect. I am ready,“ Tahir told IOL Sport.

    “I am working hard and can you see my performances in all these leagues. He said that’s why he wants me. He also said he was going to speak to a few other guys like AB [de Villiers] and Faf [du Plessis]. They put me on the Proteas group and everything, but then nobody contacted me,” said Tahir.

    “After a few months I texted Smith and Boucher and nobody replied to me. Since Boucher has become coach he has not contacted me once to tell me what his plans are. It’s really sad, man. I served the country for 10 years, I think I deserve a little more respect than these guys thinking I’m worthless.”

    Tahir, who is currently playing in the Caribbean Premier League, further detailed how he had tried to find ways of opening a line of communication, but to no avail.

    “I spoke to Temba [Bavuma] and he said he has a meeting with Boucher the following week. Temba came back to me with a message from Boucher that I must speak to Victor,“ Tahir said.

    “I again tried to reach him [Mpitsang] and he tried to call me on my WhatsApp number, but he didn’t realise WhatsApp doesn’t work in Dubai. Victor eventually spoke to me and said he will let me know. But then after a couple of months again I heard nothing,” Tahir said.

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    Craig Lewis