The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Chris Harris has tricks up his sleeve

Centurion: New Zealand’s Chris Harris has been fooling batsmen for years. His nondescript deliveries have been termed leg cutters, leg spinners, leg rollers and dollops.

He looks totally and utterly harmless, but he gets the job done. How he does it, nobody knows.

Harris is now waiting to unleash his frustrating mix of deliveries at the Indians in their final Super Six game Friday. “There could be a few tricks,” the burly bowler said. “Obviously I can’t tell you what they are. Then they wouldn’t be tricks,” he chuckled.

Harris was at the forefront of New Zealand’s plan plotted against the Australians Tuesday. His figures of none for 24 from his 10 overs, tells its own tale even though it was Shane Bond who hogged the limelight ripping the heart of the rivals with six for 23.

Harris works out a batsman’s weakness with his captain Stephen Fleming and they prey on him together. On his renowned variations — cutters, straight ones, inswingers, outswingers and the occasional off-spinner — Harris said: “I try not to make any two balls the same in an over. I don’t really try to vary it too much, just the variations within the variations. That’s where the variations come from.

“It’s pretty hard to put the ball on the same spot all the time and the pace obviously varies unintentionally as well. There’s variation just in trying to do the same thing, if that makes sense,” he said tongue-in-cheek.

“The easiest way to describe my bowling, I suppose, is slow medium,” Harris said. “My average ball is about 90kmph and my quick one on occasions gets to 110-115kmph. For me it’s just about pressure more than bowling the perfect delivery to get someone out. It’s about building pressure and making them do something that’s outside of their game plan.

“I imagine that’s how I’ve gotten most of my wickets,” said Harris who has taken 195 wickets from 224 one-dayers.

Harris’ best-known World Cup innovation was opening the bowling with off-spinner Dipak Patel in a huge upset win over Australia in 1992. It does not sound like such a big deal now, but it was revolutionary back then against batsmen used to pace. Maybe Daniel Vettori will bowl the first over this time. Maybe Harris. May be not.

To add on to his wickets, Harris has scored 4,040 runs at a healthy average of 30.14.

Harris is an unorthodox batsman and sharp fieldsman at backward point but his mysterious bowling will be his legacy whenever he retires. The veteran is beginning to show why exactly he was preferred to the youngsters for this World Cup even though Fleming did not use him in a couple of games against India at home two months ago.

Harris is responding to his captain’s faith with characteristic miserly bowling. (PTI)

Email This Page