Harris: I’ll fight for my berth in Proteas

2011-06-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Proteas Test spinner Paul Harris says he is ready to fight for a spot in the Proteas.

Harris has been mainly used as a defensive spinner in Test matches in the last four years.

After a successful World Cup performance, Pakistan-born leg spinner Imran Tahir now looks set to spearhead the South African spin attack in all forms of the game, with Harris destined to be out in the international wilderness.

Tahir was awarded a national contract, while Harris’s contract was not renewed by Cricket South Africa (CSA), a decision that surprised the lanky slow left-armer.

He told the website ESPN Cricinfo he is keen to fight for a spot in the national team.

“I was offered a Kolpak contract about a month ago, but I turned it down because I definitely still want to play for South Africa.”

Harris believes he could play alongside Tahir in the Proteas’ bowling lineup.

ESPN Cricinfo reports that Harris has left the Lions franchise and gone back to the Titans, where he played when he was first selected for the national team. There he played alongside Tahir in a successful dual-spinner lineup.

“When Richard Pybus was coaching us, Imran and I bowled a lot together and we won a few trophies.”

He firmly believes the function of a defensive bowler cannot be underestimated.

“If you have Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Tahir, they are all attacking so there is no one to hold up the other end and that’s also important,” he said.

National convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson also believes Harris may still play a role in future for the Proteas.

“We will need someone to keep the other end tight. The door is definitely not shut on him. I still think he has a lot of cricket left in him,” said Hudson.

“But the emergence of Imran Tahir and some really good performances by spinners at the World Cup has made things a little more difficult for Paul,” he said.

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