Paul Harris in ball-turning shocker

Paul Harris takes a stump as a souvenir AFP

Mickey Arthur stormed into the South African dressing room.

"Have you seen these comments from the England lot?" he asked. He brandished a newspaper angrily.

Graeme Smith put down his post-workout isotonic recovery clair. He shook his head.

"They've accused Paul Harris of messing about with the ball," said Arthur. "They say that when he bowls it sometimes he tries to make it deviate off the straight."

"That's astonishing," said Smith. "How could they accuse him of that?"

Harris emerged from the shower area. "I can't work the shower," he said.

"Duminy," sighed Smith. "Go and show Paul how to turn the shower on." JP Duminy took Harris by the hand.

"And Paul," said Smith. "Have you seen this? The English are accusing you of trying to 'spin' the ball." Harris looked blank.

"It's that thing where you sort of tweak you fingers to make it rotate through the air and then it behaves erratically when it hits the pitch," explained Duminy.

"That's malicious, that is," said Harris. "If I've been guilty of anything, it's being not very good at bowling, but there's no way they can say I tried to work on the ball to do this 'spinning' thing."

"I think we should make an official complaint about their complaint," said Arthur.

"No," said Smith. "I've got a better idea. Let's moan about it to a few journalists, but then not actually complain to the authorities."

"Sort of take the moral high ground, as it were?" said Arthur.

Smith looked puzzled.

"No, no," he said "It'll just be more annoying for the English this way."

"I dunno," said Arthur. "They shouldn't be allowed to sling mud like this. What would they say if our spinner was from Pakistan?"

"Well, we've tried that, haven't we?" said Smith. "But unfortunately, nobody believed that Imran Tahir was South African."

"I told you that sticking him in that rugby shirt and getting him to call everybody 'bru' at the immigration interview wasn't going to fly," said Arthur.

"Well, if he could have just drunk the Castle to get his courage up like I told him and said that his name was Piet Van Der Tahir as we discussed, we wouldn't be in this mess right now," said Smith.

"But how can we spin this story to our advantage?" said Arthur. "Erm, that's against the rules, isn't it?" said Harris. He looked confused. "I bet Nathan Hauritz doesn't have to put up with this."