Harmer juggling quarantine with law assignments in a Christchurch hotel

Simon Harmer is back in th Protea setup after a seven year absence.
Simon Harmer is back in th Protea setup after a seven year absence.
Image: REUTERS/Amit Dave

The SA men’s senior national cricket team players have grown accustomed to being confined to their hotel rooms while on tour due to the many restrictions that have come with the Covid-19 pandemic, but this has not stopped them from finding ways to keep themselves sane.

The team has been in tough bio-bubble environments since they hosted Sri Lanka in a test series in December 2020 and have toured Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ireland and the West Indies, and participated in the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Simon Harmer, who returned home after the end of the Kolpak era to play for the Titans, has not been part of those international trips.

The 32-year-old now finds himself cooped up in a managed isolation and quarantine hotel in Christchurch having travelled to New Zealand with the Proteas team for a two-match test series.

He returned to the national team when the touring party was named last month.

Harmer has five test caps but the last time he toured with the Proteas was in November 2015 when the team played in India.

The Pretoria-born right-handed off-spinner spoke to journalists from his Christchurch hotel room to share his excitement on his return to international cricket, his expectations for the series against New Zealand and how he is getting through the government-mandated 10 days.

“It has not been too bad but obviously being confined to your room is not ideal but we have got exercise bikes and you find things to do,” he said on the team’s third day of quarantine.

“I guess it is just one of the sacrifices in order for us to take part in the series.”

With Keshav Maharaj the first choice test spinner, and Hagley Oval touted as New Zealand’s quickest wicket, Harmer knows that his chances of playing are slim.

But Harmer won’t too bothered as he revealed that he is studying law through the UK’s Open University and has an assignment to submit on Thursday.

“I am trying to get it completed and it has given me something to do.

Harmer shared a funny story of how he got to choose law when he decided to study.

“I got myself into trouble when I was about 18 months out of school. I was kind of floating around and did not know what I wanted to do in terms of studies.

“My brother is a doctor who specialises in radiology and who has always been a very good student. I have always kind of been the black sheep of the family if you want to call it that.

“I’ve always enjoyed my sports and I wanted to be outside and my mom is a tennis coach so I have always wanted to be on the tennis court and play tennis or cricket on the tennis court, whatever it may be.

“I didn’t know what to do studies wise and I got myself into trouble with the law. So I sort of found out through that that it was an interesting field and that is how I stumbled into law.”

Harmer has always wanted to become a professional cricketer and represent his country from the first day he could hold a bat or ball but does not necessarily want to be involved with post his playing days.

“I have always understood that I have got my time in the sun in terms of my cricket career and that one day that is going to come to an end and the sun is going to set.

“I need something to fall back on in terms of my future family and the aspirations and dreams that I want to achieve in my life post cricket.

“The corporate world is something I want to move into after cricket. I want to breakaway and have a different identity and do something different.

“I am fortunate enough to be playing professional cricket because it gives me time if I use it wisely to get a degree under my name.”

Harmer is fascinated with tax law.

“Yeah, right now it is something that probably I would not mind looking at but I have still got a long way to go and things might change.”


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