Paul Harris determined to make 2011 World Cup squad
Paul Harris, the South African left-arm spinner, has said that making the squad for the 2011 World Cup was a priority and that was part of the reason he moved from the Titans franchise to the Highveld Lions for the domestic season ahead. While Harris is a regular in South Africa's Test squad, he faces competition from Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe, among others, in the limited-over formats and he hoped he would make use of the increased one-day opportunities with the Lions to impress national selectors.
"The World Cup is a huge focus for me. I'm not getting any younger and, realistically, this is probably my last chance to make it," Harris told Supersport. "Previously, the selectors haven't had much to select me by, you can't play just one or two limited-overs games for your franchise and expect to be chosen. It was very frustrating at the Titans and that's why I moved to the Lions. I want to do well in one-day cricket and if I have a great season, then I'll be knocking on the door."
Harris has played only three ODIs for South Africa to go with 32 Tests. The Titans were unable to guarantee Harris a place in all three versions of the game because of the continued good form of van der Merwe and Faf du Plessis, whereas the Lions assured Harris that he will start the season as their first-choice spinner. He will play three SuperSport Series games for them before the series against Pakistan in Dubai, and Harris said he would use the time to improve his bowling action.
"I was a bit off my best last season and there are a few technical issues to work on. But I know the issues to work on, like my front arm, it's stuff Richard Pybus [former Titans coach] and I worked on for years," Harris said. "My action is a work in progress, I don't have a classical action like a Monty Panesar, but I make up for it with guts and determination. I'm just working on getting my action as smooth as possible.
"I want to win more games for South Africa. I know I can do the holding role that Graeme Smith likes me to do. One of the successes of the team has been that, when the runs begin to flow, Graeme can turn to me to stop it and that allows your Dale Steyns of the world to come in from the other end and knock heads over."
Harris' pre-season training was interrupted by complications with his wisdom teeth extraction and he's easing back into action. "I'm approaching the season very slowly, hoping to do well for the Lions first. I have a full month and a bit with them before going to Dubai. And I think I'll play a bigger part in the home Tests against India than many people expect."