Simon Harmer returns to South Africa squad more than six years after last Test cap

By Sports Desk January 26, 2022

Simon Harmer has been named in the South Africa squad for the tour of New Zealand, more than six years after his last Test appearance.

The off-spinner has been added to a 17-man squad in place of George Linde, who is unavailable because of his impending wedding, while Prenelan Subrayen is also out due to a groin injury.

Harmer has not played for the Proteas at Test level since the tour of India in 2015, with his fifth and most recent appearance coming in Nagpur in November that year.

The 32-year-old signed a Kolpak deal with Essex in 2017 as his international opportunities appeared limited and promptly helped the club to their first County Championship title in 25 years, taking 72 wickets including a career-best 8-36 performance against Warwickshire.

Overall, he has taken 303 wickets in 61 matches since his last Test outing, more than any other bowler across the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy in that period.

Harmer is the third former Kolpak player to earn a recall since the system ended after the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union at the end of January last year, after Wayne Parnell and Duanne Olivier.

Twenty-three-year-old Lutho Sipamla has also been included for the two-match series that begins in Christchurch on February 16.

Victor Mpitsang, Cricket South Africa's convenor of selectors, said: "Our Test team has been successful under the strong leadership of Dean Elgar and his deputy, Temba Bavuma, and have returned good results in recent times. We are confident that they will continue in the same vein, as they head off to New Zealand.

"The inclusions of Simon and Lutho reaffirm our intentions as a panel, to reward excellence on the field and the pair have let their work speak on their behalf this past season.

"We wish Dean, coach Mark Boucher and the team all the best for the series and safe travels."

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