Proteas

Ball by ball, Keshav Maharaj's aims to change spin perceptions in South Africa

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Keshav Maharaj (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)
Keshav Maharaj (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)
  • Keshav Maharaj is enjoying the path of changing how spinners are perceived in South African cricket.
  • He took South Africa's first Test hat-trick since 1960 when he dismembered the West Indian lower order in the second Test on Monday.
  • Maharaj credited his fast bowlers for creating the pressure for him to succeed.

South Africa has long been a country that hasn't been friendly to spinners, but Keshav Maharaj is going a long way to change that perception.

That he snared SA's first Test hat-trick against the West Indies on Monday since Geoff Griffin's against England at Lord's in 1960 will have definitely helped in changing mindsets.

That Maharaj's hardly dropped from the Test team, while four out of his seven Test five-wicket hauls have been taken outside of SA speaks volumes of the time invested in him and his craft.

WATCH | The moment that Keshav Maharaj made SA cricket history

This isn't lost on Maharaj, whose Test hat-trick and 5/36 helped SA win their first Test series on the road since 2017.

"Luckily, the mindset has changed towards spinners in the country and if I can be a catalyst towards that, then I'm doing half my job," Maharaj said.

"Apart from putting in the performances, it's important that we're setting an example for the younger spinners who want to play international cricket where they know there's a future for spin bowling in our country."

"It's really good that we've won away from home and this team wants to move in a different direction," Maharaj said.

"This was the first obstacle that we needed to overcome, so its good from a team confidence and morale point on view.

"We are going back to the drawing board and not taking anything for granted. We want to be the polished article in four or five years' time, so we need to look after these series."

Maharaj played a big hand in SA's 1-0 series win against New Zealand in where his 6/40 in the second innings of the second Test settled the outcome of the game.

In the West Indies Tests, the fast bowlers bowled with a measure of accuracy that hardly allowed the hosts to get away.

Maharaj said his success was a collective effort, just like in New Zealand where the fast bowlers created the pressure for him to prosper.

"Fair play to the fast bowlers because they have been superb. They couldn't give the batters room to score and they tried to do so off me," Maharaj said.

"I've reaped the rewards and getting all the accolades, but it has been a team collective and so long it may continue into future series home and away. This series is the first step in that journey."

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