‘Boycs’ changes Harris tune
Rob Houwing - Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Controversial cricket personality Geoff Boycott has issued an olive branch of sorts to Proteas left-arm spinner Paul Harris.
There has been a war of words between the two in recent months after former England opening batsman Boycott branded Harris a “buffet bowler”.
The Titans stalwart, a feisty character in his own right, said more recently that while he respected Boycott as a cricketer, he had rather less respect for him as a person.
But in his latest “Bowl at Boycs” slot on the Cricinfo website on Thursday, the colourful commentator at least partly retracts his dismissive statement on Harris’s credentials.
Asked whether he stuck to his views in the light of the bowler’s man-of-the-match success in the third Test against Australia at Newlands recently – Harris claimed personal best match figures of nine for 161 – Boycott replied: “At this moment in time, the way he bowled of late, I would say he is a better bowler and he is not a buffet bowler.
“But you can only comment on people at the time they are playing. I looked up his figures: he has played 24 Tests, got 71 wickets at 32, and that is including the last two series (against Australia) where he has bowled well, so they aren’t very special figures, are they?
“I stick by that comment I made when I saw him bowl at that time. My comments were made as a professional. It was not my personal view of his qualities as a bowler or lack of them at the time. I just thought his control wasn’t good.
“When I was at Newlands (for the third Test) watching him bowl – and bowl very well and help bowl Australia out – I would have complimented his bowling.
“I think he has improved … full marks to him for that. I am pleased to say good things about people who have worked hard at their batting and bowling and made themselves better.
“People don’t like criticism. My view is that when I am on TV or radio, I tell it as a professional view, not a personal comment. I don’t take back what I said but I am thrilled to bits for him that he has improved.”