To Kiwi cricket fans, “Harry”, the second-highest wicket-taker for New Zealand in one-day internationals, needs no introduction.
In September last year, the former Black Caps cult hero signed on as Zimbabwe’s under-19 coach and, according to the national side’s top spinner Ray Price, has had an immediate impact in cricket circles of the African nation.
In particular, Harris is making strides to stop talented Zimbabwean schoolboys from leaving the country and swearing their allegiance elsewhere.
“He’s a very smart cricketer and you can see that by the way he goes about his business,” Price told Sunday News.
“He’s played for such a long time and the guys have learnt from him that you can play on for years and still do well.
“He’s helping out our under-19 set-up and working with the guys in schools to try to bridge that gap.
“At the moment, because we’ve had a bit of a lapse, we’ve had good schoolboy cricketers leave Zimbabwe and go to Australia, South Africa and England.
“We are now trying to make sure our under-19s can make it into the various rep squads and go from there. Chris is really helping out with that.”
Price said that while Harris was not part of the Zimbabwe national side’s World Cup support staff, he’d left his mark on many of the individuals in the team by way of his involvement in the domestic competition.
“He’s a fantastic guy. He’s really enthusiastic,” Price said. “He’s a classy cricketer and for someone who, no disrespect, isn’t that talented, well, jeepers he’s good,” Price said.
“I remember him taking one game away from us in Bulawayo. From memory, you guys needed about 100 from 60 balls and he smashed us all over the place.
“He’s spoken to quite a few of us because he played in our local T20 competition as well. He hit me on the roof a few times.
“It’s nice because in such a short space of time his influence has rubbed off on many of the players.”
In July this year, Zimbabwe will play Bangladesh in what will be the country’s first test match since 2005.
Price said he hoped Harris would be on hand to lend his expertise.
“We will play our first test against Bangladesh in July,” Price said. “As the side prepares itself for the test in July , it would be nice to have people like Chris around.”
– Sunday News