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"Playing for England was never going to happen" - Ex-Kolpak player Simon Harmer

Simon Harmer. (Image Credits: Twitter)
Simon Harmer. (Image Credits: Twitter)
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Aayushman Vishwanathan

Former Kolpak player and South African spinner Simon Harmer has said that playing for England was never a possibility. The off-spinner feels that would have prompted a backlash had it happened.

Harmer, who joined the Essex County Cricket Club in 2017 under Kolpak rules, would have become eligible to represent England on the residency criteria. However, Brexit ended the 33-year old's chances of representing England, and he returned to the Proteas setup in January this year.

The spinner was back in South Africa's Test XI for the first time in seven years when he played the first Test against Bangladesh in Durban in May this year. South Africa won the game by 220 runs, with Harmer taking seven wickets.

Simon Harmer is back in the South Africa Test XI for the first time since 2015But it's Bangladesh who have won the toss and are bowling first#SAvBAN | es.pn/SAvBAN22-T1 https://t.co/ksz3YFRJf1

Speaking on Telegraph Sport's Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast, Harmer admitted that there were reports of him possibly playing for England. However, he said that it was not a possibility, as he still held a South African passport.

"The possibility of me getting a passport and actually playing for England was non-existent. But because I was in the county system and a Kolpak player, there was a lot of talk that I could become eligible for England. But the reality was I was still on a South African passport and playing for England was never going to happen.

The Pretoria-born player said that it would have been 'absolute carnage' had he ended up becoming eligible to play for England. Harmer said:

"Can you imagine the hornets nest that would have been stirred up if I had been selected for England and played? Kevin Pietersen the second! It would have been absolute carnage."

Harmer has been sensational for Essex. He ended the 2019 County Championship Division One as the highest wicket-taker with 83 scalps in 14 games at 18.28, including ten fifers.


"The Bazball thing will create its own challenges" - Simon Harmer

Simon Harmer has plenty of red ball experience in England. (Credits: Getty)
Simon Harmer has plenty of red ball experience in England. (Credits: Getty)

Ahead of the three-Test series against England, Simon Harmer feels Ben Stokes and Co.'s 'Bazball' style of play should create opportunities aplenty for spinners. He added:

"The Bazball thing will create its own challenges, but for a spin bowler, if they are trying to take you on, it will create opportunities. You can’t play that way on day three in India when it is absolutely raging, but if the pitch is good, then why not?"
Simon Harmer's first-class record for Essex:56 matches289 wickets @ 20.0223 five-forsBBI: 9-80#CountyCricket2021 https://t.co/soCJEzCywC

The off-spinner, who debuted in Test cricket in 2015, has taken 33 wickets in seven Tests at 23.78. The first Test against England starts on August 17 at Lord's.


Edited by Bhargav
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