Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer Form a Solid Spin Partnership: South Africa 2022

Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer provide new dimensions to the South African attack.

Keshav Maharaj: Spinners usually have a very limited role in South Africa. Their history itself shows the role of spinners as most of the top wicket-takers in the nation are pacers. Out of the top-ten, only two of their bowlers are spinners. Keshav Maharaj is at ten while Tayfield, who last played in 1960 is at ninth place.

With first choice bowlers like Rabada and Nortje missing, the onus fell on Keshav Maharaj as an experienced player in the side. With limited options at dismissal, South Africa went with their best bowlers available and that bought Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer together. The last time two spinners were used at Durban was back in 1970. The late summer helped as the surface was tired.

While two spinners in South Africa itself was a groundbreaker, South Africa went on to open the bowling with both spinners during the second innings at Durban. The move turned out to be very effective. With South Africa moving away from their heavy reliance on pace, they had two spinners bowling with a target of 400 odd to defend. They were bowling at the end of the day and in the fading light making it tougher for Bangladesh to pick them.

See Also: Ravichandran Ashwin Breaking Barriers By Retiring Out: IPL 2022 – Cricket Winner

Before the day ended, Bangladesh were three down and the spinners started to wreak havoc. Keshav Maharaj got some nice drift at the end of the game, and he was the main threat on the fifth day, taking seven wickets. South Africa only used two bowlers in the final innings as Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer were sufficient for Bangladesh.

The success in Durban led to South Africa playing both in the second Test as well, and both were effective yet again early in the game. After the Bangladesh series, South Africa will be travelling to England. Simon Harmer spent years there in the county circuit and Keshav Maharaj has also got a decent record in the nation. With experience and numbers behind them it won’t be a surprise if both bowlers are seen together in the eleven yet again.

They seemed to have formed a strong pair, which is very new in South Africa as spin bowlers are not known to create history that much from the nation. They had the likes of Imran Tahir in the past, but Tahir was not able to grab his opportunities in red-ball cricket, creating further issues for the red-ball side as they searched for spinners.

At the other end, the batting line-up is also going well in the absence of South Africa’s IPL stars. Dean Elgar has stepped up nicely and is looking more aggressive in the series. With decent players all through the line-up, South Africa are building a very potent team. They have some nice pairs as well with Rabada and Nortje looking threatening with pace while Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer are creating a special partnership in the spin department.