Spinner Simon Harmer was named among five cricketers of the year in the 2020 edition of the famed Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack this week. Australia’s Pat Cummins, England’s Jofra Archer and Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne and Ellyse Perry are the others.
Harmer played five Tests for the Proteas in 2015 before pursuing a career on a Kolpak contract with Essex in English county cricket. Those five Tests brought 20 wickets against the West Indies, Bangladesh and India at an average of under 30 each.
- Why Harmer opted out of South Africa – ‘It wasn’t about the money’
‘I signed a six-month, £30,000 deal with Essex to come over and it was basically a shop window, whereas other players signed long-term deals for a lot more money,’ he told ESPNcricinfo last year.
‘For me, I wasn’t offered a contract back in South Africa – if things didn’t go according to plan at Essex, I’d have gone back to South Africa unemployed, and was probably looking at life after cricket.
‘It wasn’t about the money, it was about opportunity. There’s zero security in South Africa – that’s the reason players sign Kolpak deals, because of the security and the opportunity. Yes, the money is part and parcel of it because the rand is weak against sterling, but I can guarantee you now, for 95% of the guys that have signed Kolpak deals, it’s about opportunity and security.’
- Prolific 2018
Harmer took more first-class wickets than any other bowler in the world in 2018. Playing for Essex and the Warriors, he claimed 106 wickets in 24 matches to beat second-placed Mohammad Abbas, third-placed Duanne Olivier and fourth-placed Morne Morkel.
Harmer’s hefty haul featured seven innings five-fors and one match 10-for. He bowled more overs, 988.4, than any other bowler in the top 40 of the most first-class wickets taken in 2018.
- Harmer at this year’s T20 World Cup
Harmer captained Essex to the T20 Blast title last year and starred with bat and ball in the final against Worcestershire at Edgbaston in Birmingham. He was also part of the Jozi Stars’ title-winning campaign in the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League in 2018. AB de Villiers is not the only one weighing up a potential return for the Proteas at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. Harmer is reportedly in consideration, too.
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