Imran has had to wait a long time to represent his adopted country but, once the time came, his desire knew no limits. After qualifying as a naturalised South African on January 1, 2011, he was immediately chosen for the home limited overs series against India but had to suffer the frustration of sitting on the bench as the pitches favoured seam bowlers. But his enthusiasm was there for all to see and not surprisingly Graeme Smith gave him his captain’s award at the end of the series.
But he was always going to play on the spin friendly pitches of the sub-continent at the ICC 2011 World Cup and took 14 wickets in the 5 matches he played at an average of 10.71 and with an economy rate of 3.79! He missed a couple of matches at the tournament through injury and such was his impact that his future in the tournament hit the front pages of the Media.
Not only has he made a great start to his Proteas’ career but he has also enabled the team to come up with a new ODI game plan where predictability has gone out of the window and spin bowling has become a major factor for the first time in South African ODI history.
His Test match debut followed against Australia in the 2011/12 season and he completed a full house of international caps in all three formats in the T20 series in Sri Lanka in 2013.
After a brief spell on the sidelines in the 2012/13 season he returned to the Test squad in the away series against Pakistan in 2013 and claimed his maiden fifer.