Keshav Athmanand Maharaj
February 07, 1990, Durban, Natal
Right hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
A left-arm spinner from Northwood Boys High, the alma mater of Shaun Pollock, Keshav Maharaj emerged at a time when South Africa began to take spin seriously. For several seasons in the mid 2010s, spinners were among the leading wicket-takers in South Africa's first-class competition. Maharaj was among them in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and was rewarded with an international call-up the following summer.
In his youth, Maharaj was a pace bowler, whose father played for Natal B during segregation years. He turned to spin on a whim in the nets one afternoon at school. He found that it worked and stuck to it. Maharaj's secret was his accuracy. At the Dolphins, he was able to combine that with an ability to take wickets at key moments.
During the opening first-class match of the 2016-17 season, Maharaj picked up 13 for 157, and was then told he would be on South Africa's Test tour to Australia. Maharaj debuted at the WACA, an unusual place for a spinner, given the conditions, but did a remarkable job. In an innings in which he had to hold one end when Dale Steyn was injured, Maharaj bowled well enough to allow the other two seamers to be rotated at the other side. He took 3 for 56 in the first innings, four in the match, and scored an unbeaten 41 to show great promise for the future.
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