Paul Harris added to South African Test squad
Following the sudden retirement of Nicky Boje, South Africa have included left-arm spinner Paul Harris in their squad for the remaining two Tests against India. He is the only newcomer in the 15-member squad and the second spinner, alongwith Paul Adams.
Haroon Lorgat made the announcement in Johannesburg today shortly after South Africa suffered a 123-run defeat in the first Test at the Wanderers. He added that Morne Morkel, the fast bowler who impressed in the tour game against the Indians at Potchefstroom, had been kept on standy as both Dale Steyn and Andrew Hall have fitness concerns.
"We did announce the squad for all three Test matches, but Nicky Boje announced his retirement and we were looking for a replacement," Lorgat told reporters. "We've decided on Paul Harris to join the squad. We'll probably ask Morkel to join the squad in Durban. This time of year, it's always better to have people with you than allowing them to be somewhere on the beach."
Harris represented English county Warwickshire this year as a "Kolpak" player. Lorgat said he had considered another left-arm spinner, Claude Henderson, who played seven Tests for South Africa. Henderson is currently with English county Leicestershire as their overseas player.
"With Paul [Adams] in the squad, and what's happened with Nicky [Boje], I then went to Claude Henderson, who I thought would be a serious contender," he added. "But unfortunately, my conversation with Claude indicated that he was not available. So the next best for us was Paul Harris."
Lorgat said the batting order would be discussed ahead of the Durban Test starting December 26, after the top three - Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and Hashim Amla - failed to get going in both innings at the Wanderers.
When asked about Boje's recent comments slamming the selection policies, Lorgat replied that it was rather unfortunate and his comments on South African spinners were misinterpreted.
"It saddens me," he added. "It's not in my character to make statements that get people to react in that fashion. I thought I was speaking fact, that we don't have a spinner who has really changed the course of a Test match for us. I spoke to Nicky for a long time before those remarks were made. But I haven't been able to talk to him since then."
Squad Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Kallis, Paul Adams, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Paul Harris, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn