Cape Town - Proteas off-spinner, Simon Harmer, says patience with the ball will be important on the subcontinent pitches as the squad prepares for the first Test match against Bangladesh starting in Chittagong on Tuesday.
This is Harmer’s first trip to Bangladesh, and first away tour with the Proteas since making his debut against the West Indies in January this year.
“I think on these wickets you need to be as patient as possible,” he said at the team hotel in Chittagong on Sunday. “It’s easy to get carried away because they (the pitches) do turn and you can try to look for too much. I think if I can just be patient, obviously if I play, and stick to my game plan by not trying to take wickets, the wickets will take care of themselves.
“Variation is probably also the key over here,” he explained. “Obviously the wickets do turn so you need to keep the batsman thinking the whole time. You can’t bowl too much of one thing, they are good players of spin having grown up playing on these wickets, you need to be able to vary your pace and bowl different balls.”
Harmer joined the squad after a stint playing club cricket in Manchester during the off-season, and says he is an improved player after making a few technical and tactical tweaks to his game. He returned impressive figures of 7/153 in his debut appearance at Newlands, and hopes he can continue to contribute towards the Proteas’ success on this tour.
“I was playing for a club in Manchester called Monton,” he said. “It was good for my cricket, sometimes sitting back home you get into the gym routine and when it comes to bowling again you have to find your feet all over. Being overseas in the UK and bowling a lot has helped me and kept the engine running. So coming over here and bowling a few days ago didn’t feel foreign. It felt good, my rhythm was good, so all in all it’s been good for me.”
If given the opportunity for a second cap, the 26-year-old says he has his eye on the number of left-handers in Bangladesh’s line-up and hopes to have an impact in the second innings when the pressure is on.
Recent results suggest the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS) pitch could produce a high-scoring battle, after both New Zealand and Sri Lanka were held to high-scoring draws in the last two years.
Bangladesh’s last match at the stadium was a 186-run win against Zimbabwe in November on the back of a first innings score of 500.
The Proteas won the only match they’ve played at ZACS by an innings and 205 runs in 2008, a memorable match highlighted by Graeme Smith (232) and Neil McKenzie’s (226) record first-wicket partnership of 415 and Dale Steyn’s 7/101 with the ball.