Imran Tahir has signed a deal to play in Hampshire’s last two matches of the County Championship.
Hampshire Cricket confirmed on Wednesday that the Pakistan-born leg-spinner had signed for the club subject to visa clearance. The South African is currently representing the Proteas ODI team in Zimbabwe and therefore will only be available for Hampshire’s last two County Championship matches against Kent, at the Ageas Bowl, and Glamorgan, at the SWALEC Stadium, starting on 15 and 23 September, respectively.
The 35-year-old, who has taken 40 Test Match wickets for South-Africa, is no stranger to the set up at Hampshire. He has taken the field on 77 occasions for the county since his debut way back in July 2008.
Tahir made an instant impact upon his arrival at the Rose Bowl, taking figures of 7-66 in just his second match for the club against Lancashire. However, he saved his best performances for the 2011 season, which saw the leg-spinner establish himself as Hampshire’s main threat with ball in hand, taking 50 wickets in 29 matches at an average of 22.
As the season has progressed, the pitches have taken strain due to the amount of cricket being played. Saeed Ajmal has reveled in the conditions and taken Worcestershire to the top of the County Championship Division Two points table.
Hampshire are in second position, still within striking distance. South African quick, Kyle Abbott, took plenty of early season wickets for the club while the pitches were still sporting some moisture. Now that the business end of the campaign has arrived, Hampshire are putting their faith in another Protea to take them over the line.
Tahir’s mandate will be to secure silverware by winning the league. At worst, though, he will be tasked with ensuring that Hampshire retain a place in the top two on the leaderboard and consequently earn promotion to Division One next season.