Cape Town – He would probably be the quirkiest, most unorthodox
South African Test spinner since Paul “Gogga” Adams if summoned to duty any
But at least two influential critics back an opportunity for
Tabraiz Shamsi, the Titans’ left-arm chinaman bowler, in the Proteas’ five-day
Paul Harris, the SuperSport pundit who was also the
country’s usual first-choice and often lone spinner over the period between
2007 and 2011, would even like to see Shamsi leapfrog the primary Test
incumbent, Dane Piedt, into the side for the looming home mini-series against
The first of two Tests is at Kingsmead in Durban from August
19 and the second scheduled for Shamsi’s home ground, SuperSport Park in
Centurion, from August 27.
Another television critic, the former national selector and
one-cap Proteas off-spinner Shafiek Abrahams, similarly gave a thumbs-up for an
extension of Shamsi’s limited-overs role for South Africa – he earned maiden
caps in the recent Caribbean ODI triangular – into the more extended arena at
Harris said on the Inside
Edge chat show he felt Shamsi, 26, gave the Proteas good strike
possibilities and that he had proved his worth at first-class level; he
possessed healthy variety including a deceptive wrong ‘un.
The 37-Test Harris, always renowned as a pressure-builder
and game-stopper even if he wasn’t enormously prolific in the wickets column,
believes Shamsi would be freed to play an attack-minded role if the national
side recalls Vernon Philander, the traditionally accurate seamer who is swiftly
on the mend from long-term injury and “holds” a Test match reliably once he has
had his initial assault with the new ball.
Johannesburg-born Shamsi has played 68 first-class matches –
although some are in the second-tier provincial competition – and boasts 272
wickets at an average of 24.90 (economy 3.44).
The Proteas seem likelier to keep their faith as frontline
spinner for the moment in Piedt, the Cape Cobras off-spinner who has earned
five Test caps and picked up 22 scalps at 35.31; his own first-class average is
While not having things entirely his own way in the
just-completed two-game series between SA ‘A’ and their Zimbabwean
counterparts, Piedt captured 4/19 in the short-lived, series-deciding second
innings of the home side at Bulawayo when they were skittled for 133.
The one reservation Abrahams said he had over a possible
Test call-up for Shamsi – he would personally stick with Piedt for the time
being -- was his busy commitment in recent times to Twenty20 cricket; he has
been playing for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier
Piedt and Shamsi went head to head in Paarl at the tail-end
of the 2015/16 Sunfoil Series season in April and, although in the losing cause
in a tight encounter, the former earned greater individual bragging rights by
claiming 7/106 for the Cobras in the Titans’ second knock.
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