Full name Simon Ross Harmer
Born February 10, 1989, Pretoria, Transvaal
Current age 30 years 218 days
Major teams South Africa, Border, Eastern Province, South Africa A, South African Universities, Warriors
Playing role Allrounder
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
|Test debut||South Africa v West Indies at Cape Town, Jan 2-6, 2015 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v South Africa at Nagpur, Nov 25-27, 2015 scorecard|
|First-class debut||Eastern Province v Griqualand West at Port Elizabeth, Nov 5-7, 2009 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Essex v Warwickshire at Birmingham, Sep 10-13, 2019 scorecard|
|List A debut||Eastern Province v Easterns at Port Elizabeth, Feb 6, 2010 scorecard|
|Last List A||Essex v Gloucestershire at Chelmsford, May 7, 2019 scorecard|
|T20s debut||Eastern Province v Western Province at Port Elizabeth, Nov 6, 2011 scorecard|
|Last T20s||Lancashire v Essex at Chester-le-Street, Sep 4, 2019 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|6/143, 0||Essex||v Warwickshire||Birmingham||10 Sep 2019||FC|
|0/13||Essex||v Lancashire||Chester-le-Street||4 Sep 2019||T20|
|7*, 1/24||Essex||v Kent||Chelmsford||30 Aug 2019||T20|
|1/29||Essex||v Surrey||The Oval||29 Aug 2019||T20|
|0, 2/23||Essex||v Hampshire||Southampton||25 Aug 2019||T20|
|2/19||Essex||v Sussex||Hove||22 Aug 2019||T20|
|0/46, 5, 30||Essex||v Kent||Canterbury||18 Aug 2019||FC|
|-||Essex||v Glamorgan||Cardiff||9 Aug 2019||T20|
|0/45, 2||Essex||v Somerset||Chelmsford||7 Aug 2019||T20|
|1/29||Essex||v Gloucs||Bristol||2 Aug 2019||T20|
At 27, Simon Harmer decided that his future in international cricket was blocked in South Africa and opted to change direction. He decided to sign a Kolpak deal with Essex, aware of the bad grace it would attract in his home country but aware, too, that he was not even being selected in the South Africa A side and that domestic cricket only had limited value.
If he had vague regrets over his change of path as 2017 began, they soon dissipated as Essex, newly promoted, won their first Championship for 25 years. Harmer was at the centre of their success, taking 72 wickets at 19.19 each (outdone only by seamer Jamie Porter who took 75 at 16.83), fair hair flying with ambition. Here was an attacking offie who gave the ball a huge tweak, blessed with good flight, changes of pace and a flawless action. Essex soon extended his one-year contract to three and Harmer expressed the desire to see out the rest of his career at Chelmsford. After years of frustration, he was enjoying his cricket again.
Among the highlights was career-best figures of 8 for 36 against Warwickshire at Chelmsford in June, and 14 for 128 in the match, as Essex pronounced themselves realistic title challengers. Before the month was out, that career-best had been enhanced - 9 for 95 against Middlesex (again 14 in the match) as victory was achieved in the penultimate over.
Although Essex failed to defend their title in 2018, finishing third, Harmer remained the most successful offspinner in the country, returning 57 wickets at 24.45, his alliance with Porter - 58 wickets - once again central to the county's challenge.
An aggressive offspinner seldom finds a place in South African cricket but Simon Harmer was determined to be different. He carved a niche for himself at the Warriors franchise after he moved to the Eastern Cape from his home on the Highveld, where he was schooled at Pretoria Boys' High School, the alma mater of Eddie Barlow.
Harmer made his first-class debut for provincial Eastern Province in the 2009/10 summer and was soon promoted to the franchise team. Two seasons later, he was topped the first-class competition bowling charts with 44 wickets at 31.75 for the Warriors but could not stake a claim for higher honours with Paul Harris in the national side. Neither did quota policy, a perpetual political minefield, advance his case.
Instead, Harmer made regular appearances for the A side and was left to work on other areas of his game. He added lower-order impetus with the bat to his repertoire, with a first-class hundred and several fifties, but still could not break through.
It was only when the South African attitude towards spin turned, and they began to look to include more than one in a squad, that Harmer came into contention again. But by then, he had a competitor. In the 2013/14 season, Harmer was the second-highest wicket-taker in the 2013/14 season after Dane Piedt - and Piedt was selected ahead of him to tour Zimbabwe in August 2014.
Harmer only his find his way into the South African side when Piedt was injured during the home series against West Indies the following season. He made his international debut in the 2015 New Year's Test and too seven wickets in the match. He toured with South Africa to Bangladesh in July that year and was included as one of three spinners to play against India in November 2015. Nagpur was to prove to be the last of his five Tests. Twenty wickets at 29.40 was not a bad record for a spin bowler about to be ignored.