Where The Paul Harrises Are
Paul Harris bowling Ian Bell during the first innings of the test match just gone at Centurion was not the best thing I’ve ever seen on a cricket pitch. And I’ve seen a man run himself out because he thought the game was over. That was an American boy at my school actually.
Unfortunately sometimes when Bell gets out he really gets out. It’s the kind of You’ve Been Framed caper that has the unhappy effect of extinguishing memories of Bell’s more worthy achievements in the game. Like the very essential 72 he scored against the Australians at the Oval without which the pilfering of the Ashes would not have been possible. That was in the last test match before this one lest anyone had forgotten.
The main reason why the Bell detractors were polishing their spank-paddles was who was lumbering in at the other end when he shouldered arms. Paul Harris is a man famed for his inability to spin the majority of his deliveries. When I remind myself that Harris took five wickets in that innings and he is in fact in the Top 10 of the test bowler’s hit parade, it is impossible to do so without my inner voice sounding like a patronising uncle.
Who knows what thoughts were floating around the Bell brain when Harris bowled that delivery? It is entirely feasible that he was gazing up the wicket and pondering what actually Paul Harris is. He doesn’t look like a spinner. He doesn’t really look like a cricketer. More a strange fuzzy giant from a distant island. Maybe that’s his mystery.