Simon Harmer took three wickets on his first day in Test cricket © Getty Images
Simon Harmer took three wickets on his first day in Test cricket © Getty Images

The meeting between South Africa and West Indies isn’t the most mesmerizing union in the post modern era. In a series that has failed to pique the most ardent cricket fan’s interest, individualism takes precedence. Cricket fans appreciate individual brilliance. The emergence of Simon Harmer was quite an event in an otherwise uneventful tale during Day One of the third Test. Ankur Dhawan assesses the potential significance of this new spark on the horizon.

Amalgamate Colin Miller’s hair and Richard Dawson’s bowling action, the result would pretty much look like Simon Harmer. Aside from these trivialities, Harmer showed on debut that he possesses a little knack: he can take wickets. The fact that these wickets came on debut on a benign Cape Town surface is emboldening from a Protean point of view.

Harmer bowled with control that eluded Imran Tahir over a 16 Test match career. Tahir, supposedly a wicket-taker, averaged 46 in Test cricket at an economy rate of 3.56; Harmer eclipsed Tahir in both the departments in a short burst of his 25-over international career. He registered impressive figures of 3 for 67 from 25 overs on Day One. It is important that the wickets were of top order batsmen who were well entrenched and they came on Day One of a Test. This surely suggests that the 25-year-old off spinner from Eastern Province wasn’t satisfied playing the defensive, holding role. It is a reflection of an attacking instinct that is often missing in a post modern finger spinner. Harmer was actually the difference between the two sides on Day One at Cape Town. That is saying something, considering he bowled in the company of much celebrated colleagues such as Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, two of whom went wicketless.

Harmer didn’t take the world by storm but neither did Shane Warne in infancy. Yet Warne transmogrified and remains the difference between the invincible Australian side from the 90’s and the number one Test side in the World currently, which is South Africa. Although not nearly in the same league on first glance, Harmer’s impact on his debut and the potential that he brings to the table for the Proteas cannot and should not be understated. It is not that he took a bucket load of wickets — which spinner from the southern hemisphere ever has on debut? But watching him bowl with my freakish powers of clairvoyance, one has a fleeting glimpse at the crystal bowl: as he evolves, South Africa may in days to come have stumbled upon the final piece of the jigsaw that, once completed, will see them truly dominate Test cricket. And they say he can bat.

(Ankur Dhawan is a reporter with CricketCountry. Heavily influenced by dystopian novels, he naturally has about 59 conspiracy theories for every moment in the game of cricket. On finding a direct link between his head and the tip of his fingers, he also writes about it)