South Africa coach hails Harris
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur today hailed Paul Harris as one of the best finger spinners in the world and backed him to cement his place in the one-day squad.
Harris, 29, was awarded a one-day cap for the three-match series against Bangladesh and the left-arm spinner has not disappointed, frequently troubling the batsmen with his nagging line and length.
"There is no doubt that Harris is one of the most underrated spin bowlers in world cricket," Arthur said.
"If one accepts that Muttiah Muralitharan is in reality a wrist spinner, then Harris is as good as any finger spinner in world cricket. The Bangladesh batsmen have been stunned to see just how good he is."
Harris picked up two wickets in the first one-dayer and although he failed to bag any in the second, he tied down the scoring in the middle overs and shaped the team's series-clinching seven-wicket win here yesterday.
Arthur said Harris's debut in the shorter version of the game was significant as the Proteas were starting to focus on the Champions Trophy in Pakistan in September and the World Cup, to be held in the sub-Continent in 2011.
Harris, with 30 wickets from 10 Tests, has also been named in the 14-member squad for the three-Test series against India starting later this month and is expected to play a big role on the slow, turning wickets there.
Arthur was also pleased with the way the youngsters were responding to the challenge of fitting into the shoes of charismatic all-rounder Shaun Pollock, who retired from international cricket last month.
"It says a lot about Pollock's multi-talented skills that it was going to be impossible to replace him with one single payer," said Arthur.
"The media were always going to label Albie Morkel, Vernon Philander or some other unfortunate as the next Shaun Pollock but neither deserves that burden and must simply be himself as a player and with his own attributes.
"The fact of the matter is that, for the time being at least, Morkel has taken over Pollock's batting role even though he has not had the chance to express himself in this role in Bangladesh yet.