Price on Simon Harmer

Neil whitaker reports

ESSEX Eagles captain South African Simon Harmer believes that their victory in the Vitality Blast T20 at Edgbaston is only the start to their collection of trophies.

Speaking after their T20 victory he said: “I want people at Essex county club to change the mentality of a small county because we dont have the money.  There are always the excuses, in my opinion those have to go because we have the tools to be very competitive in all forms of cricket over the next five years.  We need to start to believe that we can win all matches. When we need to chase down 300 in a 50 over game, people only start to believe when someone scores a hundred or takes a five fer.  Now with us winning this T 20 competition the believe is there and the players understand that we are good enough. Hopefully moving forward we can be more competitive and win more trophies.”

26 year old Harmer from Pretoria, replaced fellow South African Ryan Ten Doeschate as Essex Eagles  T20 captain before the start of the season. Harmer is unapologetic over his methods after leading a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes in the Blast.  They won only two of their first 10 group matches but clicked into gear at the right time, thanks to some decisive contributions from Ravi Bopara in the must-win showdowns against Surrey and Kent Spitfires and then in the quarter-final victory over Lancashire Lightning.

Harmer, who joined Essex as a Kolpak player in 2017 said: “When I became captain I thought there were changes that needed to happen in my opinion in order  for us to move forward as a T20 team. There were some difficult decisions that needed to be made, a couple of players got dropped. That decision was not popular among the senior players but  I thought it was best for the team to get 11 guys on the field who were all pulling in the same direction that was my toughest challenge and after that things went our way.”

One of the decisions he made was to move Bopara down the order from number three to number five or six.  “Dropping Bopara down the order was one of the decisions that needed to be made. In my opinion he is one of the if not the best finisher of T20 innings’ so I felt in order for us to win games we needed him to come in at five or six and finish games for us.  It was pointless in him coming in at three and getting a good ball, he’s sitting back in the hut. Sometimes you need to prove people wrong before you make them believe. After his time away from the team he came back bought into it 100% and he reaped the rewards.  He’s an incredible talented cricketer. The way he thinks about cricket and the way he bats, bowls and the execution of his skill, he’s an unbelievable player. So I could understand his frustration and hopefully if its not now or in five years, in 10 years time he can sit down, look back and see that he is best suited for five or six. I don’t want to prove people wrong but what I want to do is what I feel is best for the team and if individuals don’t think that its best for the team that’s their prerogative.  But as a captain the club expects performances so I need to deliver and get 10 other blokes buying into the same plan.

In my opinion we have all the tools.  The players we have here have what you cant buy and that’s the camaraderie in the dressing room.  There’s a lot of love in the dressing room for the guy next to you and in my opinion you can’t buy that.  You can bring players in and you can do what you want but you can’t buy a bond between people.”

He added: “I don’t know if my style is going to work, I might be a one hit wonder so there are certain non negotiable‘ s in my eyes which I haven’t been able to implement this season but moving forward if  I was to get the captaincy in all three formats then I would have more control over things that happen within the club but my terms and cond conditions would be that I would take over red ball cricket if Ten Doeschate does not retire because if he retires then I’ve got no interest.”

October 4, 2019 3:12 pm

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