South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj rattled three Caribbean wickets at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia on Monday, and went down in the history books of South African Cricket. He dismissed Kieran Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua da Silva and became only the second bowler from South Africa to take a hat-trick in Tests.
As the first ever spinner in South Africa to take a Test hat-trick, Keshav said “It’s obviously hard being a spinner. And luckily enough, the mindset has changed towards spin bowling in the country. But if I can be a catalyst in a way then I’m doing half my job. Apart from trying to put in performances, I think it’s important to make sure that we set new examples to the younger spinners out there, who eventually will play Test cricket and International cricket, that there is a future for spin bowling in our country. We have got a good Captain and obviously a good coach to support spin bowling and always see an asset. It’s always good to have that sort of support structure behind you.”
Keshav Maharaj, completed the innings by taking 5 wickets and giving 36 runs, helped dismiss the West Indies for 165 to give South Africa a victory by 158 runs, completing a 2-0 series win on the fourth day of the second Test on Monday. Both the teams will now head into 5 T20Is which will give them much needed exposure for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. The 2 Tests and 5 T20Is are a part of the larger South Africa tour of the West Indies, which will conclude on July 03. With FanCode becoming the new official broadcaster for West Indies cricket in India until 2024, the complete tour is exclusively live-streamed on the FanCode App and www.fancode.com.
Speaking of the CSA wanting to move in a different direction, and with the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup also coming up, Keshav said, “To be honest, I didn’t even know the last Test series that we won away from home was in 2017, if I’m not mistaken. But yeah, it’s really good. I’m sure you’ve been hearing in the media that this team wants to move in a different direction. And obviously, this was the first obstacle that we had to overcome. So, it’s really good from a team morale point of view and a confidence point of view. However, we are going back to the drawing board, not taking it for granted. You know, the boys will celebrate the series win, which is really important to go in the right direction.” He adds, “So, it’s important that we keep taking care of the series and be ruthless in our performances. That’s where this team wants to head. So, really important for us as a team going forward.”
It was the first away series win in more than 5 years for South Africa; the last series win came in March 2017 against the Kiwis. And the first-ever South Africa Test hat-trick star Geoff Griff, who took the Test wickets at Lord’s in 1960, has a torchbearer 60 years later.