The Rawalpindi born allrounder made his first-class debut against Peshawar in October 2004 but failed to impress with bat or ball. However, in his second match, against Multan, Sohail Tanvir scored an unbeaten 97 while taking three wickets but has played only 17 first-class matches since (a total of 19 in three seasons).
Tanvir has established himself as a batting allrounder and his unbeaten 124 (his second first-class century) in the Pentangular Cup 2007 match against Sind further established that point. He also represented Pakistan Academy on their tour of Bangladesh and his fine all-round performance on that tour and against Australia A in the ODI series at home prompted the selectors to name him as Shoaib Akhtar's replacement in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. The decision came as a surprise, however, as Tanvir was yet to take a wicket in the ten Twenty20 matches he had played.
His wrong-footed action, however, caused batsmen a lot of problems and emerged as the surprise package in the ICC World Twenty20. Although not picked for the Test team, Tanvir was back in Pakistan colours in the ODI series against South Africa. He went on to record a stunning 6 for 14 for Rajasthan in the IPL - the best figures in a Twenty20.
He also bowls occasional left arm orthodox spin, as demonstrated in his second career Test, against India at Kolkata.