Given the type of wicket at St George’s, Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj senses there is an opportunity to be grabbed in the first Test against Sri Lanka.
As the only specialist spinner in the side, the chances are that the left-armer will have a major role to play on what is expected to be a slow and dry wicket.
‘I’d like to play a home series first before I know my future in terms of cementing my place,’ he said. ‘I will take it one ball at a time and one game at a time. It’s nice to have that backing from the selectors. I’ve got to grab the opportunity with both hands.’
He has been in close contact with Paul Harris who advised him ahead of his maiden series in Australia. Here at home, the primary focus is on patience. ‘I’ve just got to hit my length for as long as I can,’ Maharaj said.
He has also had a boost from his idol and now his opposition, Rangana Herath, who said: ‘I have only seen Keshav play against Australia, but from what I’ve seen, he’s a very accurate bowler. He’s got all the essentials – with his accuracy, his line and his lengths. If he improves his variations he’ll go far.’
Maharaj said: ‘I have always looked up to him. He is one of the left-arm spinners along with Daniel Vettori that you will try and model yourself on, in terms of variations. I am still new to the international scene and he has been around for a while so hopefully he can impart some of his knowledge and skill on to me.’
It is a nervous time for the spinner. His only long-form experience at this ground came eight years ago in a provincial three-day match for KwaZulu-Natal. Maharaj took three wickets in each innings in the drawn fixture and admitted that he doesn’t really know what to expect from the surface.
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