South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir has been snapped up as Derbyshire’s first overseas signing for the 2017 season.
Tahir, who played for Notts last summer, can be viewed a symbol of the club’s new strategy to switch their emphasis from in-house development to strengthening their squad through the recruitment of players.
Depending on his international commitments, which will take precedence, the 37-year-old is due to arrive after the ICC Champions Trophy in June and will be available for the remainder of the season.
Tahir, who is currently ranked as the world’s number one Twenty20 international bowler, has played more than 500 games as a professional, taking 1,193 wickets. He has played for South Africa more than 100 times since making his debut in 2011, bagging 211 wickets at an average of 26, with best figures of 7-45.
He also has extensive experience in England, having played for Hampshire and Warwickshire before joining Notts. In total, Tahir has appeared in 188 first-class games, claiming 766 wickets at an average of 26, with best figures of 8-42. He has also featured in 311 limited-overs matches, taking 427 wickets at an average of 22.
Chairman Chris Grant said: “At the end of last season, we committed to investing in top-quality players to improve the squad and ensure we could compete more strongly in 2017. This signing clearly demonstrates that we are delivering on that commitment.”
The club’s new director of cricket, Kim Barnett, said: “We are keen to strengthen our squad with experienced matchwinners who will also help our talented youngsters. With his vast international and domestic experience here in England, Imran fits the bill perfectly.
“He is one of the best leg-spinners in the world, and we’re very excited to have him on board. Not only will Imran bring an added dimension to our bowling line up, his influence on the team and players will be immense.
Tahir said: “I love playing cricket in England and I’m looking forward to playing a senior role at Derbyshire. I’ve learned a lot over the years and if I can pass my knowledge on to youngsters and help win matches, then it’s a great option for me.”