Snappy Q&As with the players
The Wisden Cricketer

Paul Harris

'It's amazing how many new friends you have before a Test'

The South African spinner on his favourite opponents, celebratory drinks, fielding in front of Bay 13, and what hotel rooms need to improve them

Interview by Robert Houwing

June 10, 2010

Comments: 8 | Text size: A | A

Paul Harris turned in a career-best performance, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, 4th day, Cape Town, March 22, 2009
Paul Harris: gaming fiend © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Paul Harris
Teams: South Africa

Who's the nicest man in cricket?
Shaun Pollock and Jonty Rhodes.

What's your biggest personal rivalry in cricket?
Sachin Tendulkar. In my mind, he is the complete player. We have had a few tussles in the past.

If you weren't a cricketer, what would you be?
I think I would be in advertising... or have my own TV show about sport.

Toughest opponent?
Toss-up between Sachin and Ricky Ponting.

What do hotel rooms need to make them more enjoyable?
They should all come standard with a Playstation 3, a Wii and an Xbox 360 with at least 100 games to choose from.

Do you like to do the tourist thing when on tour?
I love touring. These days you don't get much time to be a tourist, but I enjoy London and Sydney.

Which ground has the most hostile crowds?
The MCG's Bay 13. It's a great experience fielding at fine leg there.

And the most amusing crowds?
Headingley - the Western Terrace kept me entertained for a while.

Which tour do you most look forward to?
It used to be Australia, but now I'm looking forward to West Indies.

What drink is the best one to celebrate victory with?
I'm not too fussy, but if I had a choice, then Jack Daniel's.

How would you have got Bradman out?
I would have to study footage. Judging by his stats, I might have had a hard time.

How often do your friends ask you for free tickets to matches?
Every Test. It's amazing how many new friends you have before a Test. I save my tickets for the real ones.

How do you normally celebrate a Test win?
Normally we have a fines meeting where [Mark] Boucher is the chairman. Then find some place willing to host the team for a few drinks.

Does your family like cricket?
My mum is the biggest fan of the game. My wife was fairly clueless when she met me but now she understands it.

Team you most enjoy beating?
Australia would be first and England a close second.

Any sports you aren't very good at?
Hockey. I played for about a month and got bored.

How do you relax away from cricket?
With my wife and friends. I enjoy the sea and the bush.

What's the best sledge you've heard?
A few good ones recently but not sure I can repeat them in a "family" magazine. Best left on the field.

This article first appeared in The Wisden Cricketer magazine

Robert Houwing is chief writer for in South Africa

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© The Wisden Cricketer

Posted by aussiebear68 on (June 11, 2010, 12:29 GMT)

Comments about Bradman's average etc really aren't valid. In no other era has one batsman dominated in such a way. Granted there was a small number of test playing nations, but also remember he played in a time when not all pitches were covered. His average is 50% greater than second best. You can't discount his performance...start that and we might have to apply the same theory to Murali and deduct all those Zimbabwe and Bangladesh wickets...

Posted by FarazSomjee on (June 11, 2010, 5:14 GMT)

interesting to read response where Paul he is saying that how he would have got Bradman out, Ii thought it was too arogant for Paul to say that ..... instaed one would have expected him to say that with his abilities and skill it was not possible for hime get Big B out....... I guess it has to do with DNA of some people who can never show humility........

Posted by   on (June 10, 2010, 23:06 GMT)

@Alexa Hassett and @Yorker_ToeCrusher: As the oft-quoted saying goes, a batsman can only play what is put in front of him. Yes, during that day and age, there weren't fast bowlers like Marshall and Akram or spin bowlers like Warne and Muralitharan but who is to say that he would not have had the skill or temperament to adapt? It's impossible to say. We mustn't forget that they also played on uncovered pitches, had much inferior bats, larger boundaries and were not able to practice throughout the year like our contemporary, well-paid cricketers. Who is to say that he wouldn't flourish as a batsman with these modern innovations?

Posted by Yorker_ToeCrusher on (June 10, 2010, 17:19 GMT)

The Eden Garden's crowd has to be the most hostile crowd..I am not sure if he has played a matchc in Kolkata. @Alexa Hassett : I agree with inflated batting avg of Bradman.He has played agains very few oppositions and he has never played against the best spinners in dustb bowls of india.

Posted by kinnar32 on (June 10, 2010, 13:28 GMT)

Nice interview Qs, helps us to know the cricketrs more. Wish there were many more interviews of the lesser known cricketers.

Posted by   on (June 10, 2010, 12:28 GMT)

Alot of Bradmans stats were due to the bowling being inferior in those days there were bowlers of right arm medium and right arm slow which wouldnt get todays crickets out also when bradman was playing there were 3 minnows not 2 as West Indies, India and new zaland all were given test status in around 1929-30 when he had just started he complained about bodyline but imagine if the bowlers in the bodyline series would of been Roberts, Croft, Thomson and Holding infact in an era with those bowlers he wouldnt of averaged near 100 i think when taking account of Averages Seventies averages should be held in esteem as the bowling in that area peaked in fact the 70s west indian bowling attack was proof of a bowling unit being too strong bowling support isnt always good for a bowler if they played for any other team roberts garner croft and Holding would of had 20 odd 5 wicket halls and over 300 test victims

Posted by   on (June 10, 2010, 11:50 GMT)

LOL................ Melbourne Cricket Ground has to be the most hostile, yet BEST ground in the wrld....LUV THE ATMOSPHERE THERE....

Posted by   on (June 10, 2010, 9:36 GMT)

i'd love to here those sledges :D lawl

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