Cape Town – The one thing you could desperately seldom
accuse Paul Harris of in a Proteas Test shirt was lack of bowling discipline.
He was a pressure-builder, to the benefit of the whole
attack, far more than he was a personal havoc-wreaker in his 37 appearances,
which goes a long way to explaining why his economy rate (2.65) looks rather
more impressive than his average (37.87) as he grabbed a career total of 103
Now a SuperSport pundit, the left-arm spinner feels Simon
Harmer and Imran Tahir – usually South Africa’s main two slow bowlers over the
course of the already-surrendered series in India – have been falling short in
the key department of accuracy.
Speaking on the Inside
Edge chat show ahead of the dead-rubber fourth and final clash in Delhi
from Thursday, Harris said the Proteas’ batsmen had shouldered much of the
blame for not being able to combat the controversially spin-friendly conditions
“But I don’t think our spinners – I am speaking of Harmer
and Tahir rather than (part-timers) JP Duminy and Dean Elgar – have bowled very
“On these particular wickets, if you get the ball in the
right area, (batsmen) simply cannot score; it’s impossible to score, unless you
“But we’ve been cut too many times, pulled too many times,
and sent down too many full tosses.
“How many such deliveries did their spinners bowl? Maybe
three in two Test matches, when they were trying something – (Ravichandran)
Ashwin trying his other one or the leg-spinner (Amit Mishra) just getting one
Harris said he was not trying to “bash” the SA pair, who
were good players and in Harmer’s case still lacked serious Test-level
“I don’t expect someone like Harmer, right now, to be
another Ravi Ashwin. But I would not expect as many bad balls at Test level.
“Consistency is (vital) ... keep the ball in one area. Our
spinners have searched too hard for wickets; India’s guys just land the ball in
the right spot and the wicket does the rest.”
Joining the lively debate around the suitability of the
series tracks thus far – the ICC has officially branded Nagpur “poor” – Harris
said he felt they were “not that bad for cricket ... but just not every game”.
He did have a warning for India, however: “They won’t
improve as a Test nation if they keep producing pitches like (Nagpur). I don’t
think even their spinners have expected these strips to turn so much.”
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