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Proteas selectors had to reward Simon Harmer’s form and wicket-taking ability

Simon Harmer was recalled to the Proteas. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Simon Harmer was recalled to the Proteas. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Jan 29, 2022

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Cape Town - If you do your talking out in the middle, with bat and ball, there will always be a future for white South African cricketers. It doesn’t matter what age.

Simon Harmer’s recall to the Proteas for the tour of New Zealand was a personal highlight of my week. Harmer is a fine bowler and has been consistently good when playing as a Kolpak player in England and has been as good since returning to South Africa in the past year.

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Harmer’s form and wicket-taking ability demanded that the selectors had to look up and stay focused. They couldn’t look away.

Harmer is 32-years-old and he is white and there were many who felt that he would never again play for South Africa because of his Kolpak history. But excellence will always be rewarded and Harmer has been excellent since joining the Titans.

ALSO READ: Proteas spring a surprise with Simon Harmer recall for New Zealand tour

Harmer’s selection gives hope to any veteran white first-class player who may feel the odds are stacked against them because of transformation.

Produce and the reward will be there.

When players left South Africa citing political interference and an antiwhite sentiment to national selection, it coincided with the glorious international careers of Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, who all prospered under Graeme Smith’s captaincy.

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All the mentioned players are white and all were brilliant international cricketers.

They were too good to ever be left out because of the colour of their skin. They dominated the domestic and international scene for more than a decade.

Brilliance doesn’t have a colour-coding and if a white player in South Africa is that good, that player will find his or her way to the national team.

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Equally players of colour, who in the last 10 years, more than at any time of South African cricket’s history, have flourished through being given an opportunity.

ALSO READ: Cricket South Africa must be patient, but also do better

The overriding social media sentiment from the anti-transformation brigade is that a young white cricketer will have to defy the odds to play for the Proteas and an ageing white player has no chance of national selection.

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I say that is nonsense because whenever a white player has scored the runs and taken the wickets in a way that commands dominance out in the middle, that player’s effort and form has got reward through a national call-up.

Harmer’s reintroduction to international cricket is a lesson to every cricketer that if you keep on producing, the rewards will match the consistency of those performances.

@Mark_Keohane

IOL Sport

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