Team South Africa is soon to get its first genuine, specialist legspinner with an inclusion that could revolutionalise legbreak bowling in the Rainbow Nation.
The man in question is Pakistan-born Imran Tahir who has just become eligible to represent the Proteas after his South African citizenship was granted by naturalisation.
Tahir has also fulfilled the ICC's regulations for representing his new country, having not played for the country of his birth at any level for more than 4 years.
The 31-year-old has been one of South Africa's most prolific domestic bowlers in recent times, with 535 first-class wickets at 25.09 from 127 matches. He was picked in the South Africa Test squad to play England in Jan 2010, but was dropped at the last minute due to issues over his residency status. Those problems have been resolved now.
"Imran has made South Africa his home and has been married for some time to a South African," Gerald Majola, CEO of Cricket South Africa said. "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, who was not considered for the ongoing Test series against India, is most likely to make his one-day debut in the upcoming ODI series between the two sides. "He will be considered for the one-dayers," CSA's convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said.