Harris: SA spinners must tighten up

2015-12-02 20:11
Paul Harris (Gallo Images)

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 scalps.

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 thus far.

“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 well.

“On these particular wickets, if you get the ball in the right area, (batsmen) simply cannot score; it’s impossible to score, unless you get lucky.

“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 wrong.”

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 experience.

“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.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  paul harris  |  cricket

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