SAfrica’s Tahir didn’t hesitate when asked to tour Pakistan

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers patrol in the vicinity of Gaddafi Stadium ahead of the World XI cricket series, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. A World XI led by South Africa's Faf du Plessis arrived in Lahore early Monday amid tight security to play a three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) South Africa legspinner Imran Tahir was quick to sign on to the tour of Pakistan.

He visits his country of birth every year.

Tahir still has family in Lahore, where all three Twenty20s between his World XI and Pakistan will be played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Part of the first major cricket tour of Pakistan in eight years, Tahir said he wants to see Pakistan staging international matches again.

”I told (teammates) very positive things because I have been coming here to meet my family every year,” he said on Monday. ”I answered their questions and they have come, so thanks to them that they believed me.

”We have come here with a positive mind and will go positively.”

Tahir grew up in Lahore wanting to play for Pakistan, and was picked for the national under-19 and A teams. He migrated to South Africa in 2006. Competition for places in Pakistan teams was hard, and he said, ”It made me tough.”

He made his debut for South Africa at the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and was the team’s second highest wicket-taker.

”I am very proud and very happy where I am in my career,” he said.

He’s one of five South African cricketers in the World XI, along with captain Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, Hashim Amla, and David Miller.

”When I was told that these three matches could happen, probably I was the first one who said that I would love to go,” Tahir said.