Essex’s Simon Harmer expects wickets to be harder to come by when Middlesex visit today

Pakistan's Mohammed Amir is expected to make his Essex debut today.

Pakistan's Mohammed Amir is expected to make his Essex debut today. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Simon Harmer is not expecting lightning to strike a second time after a perfect storm whipped up an incredible fourteen-wicket haul for him against Warwickshire.

Another week, another game, but the wind has blown in a new set of conditions, and more specifically the first day-night Specsavers County Championship match with its twilight zones and pink balls.

“It really is uncharted territory,” says Harmer ahead of Middlesex’s arrival in Chelmsford today for a fixture that starts at 2pm today and isn’t scheduled to finish until nine o’clock on each of the next four nights.

The South African off-spinner doesn’t anticipate bowling as many as the 66 overs he sent down last week, and certainly not challenging his career-best figures of eight for 36, or 14 for 128 in the match.

“I don’t really know too much about the pink balls,” said the 28-year-old.


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“But talking to some of the Essex boys, they say that the pink Dukes stay really hard and swing for 80 overs.

“So if it’s going to swing, the seamers are going to play a bigger part in the game as opposed to a spinner.”

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Harmer got his hands on a pink ball when Essex trained at dusk on Saturday, and announced: “It feels a bit lighter.

“I don’t know if that’s just a mental thing. I’m sure it’s still 156 grams like the red Dukes. Other than that the seam is much the same. I don’t know how long it’s going to last as opposed to the red ball.

“It’s going to be the twilight zone when it’s going to be interesting to see how easy it is to pick out. Other than that I don’t see the pink ball being an issue.”

With Mohammad Amir fresh from Pakistan’s Champions Trophy success, and raring to go, Essex have gained “an exciting edge to our attack”, according to Harmer.

The left-arm quick arrives for his debut with the county 14 points clear in Division One, and looking to underline their credentials against reigning champions Middlesex.

“There is a lot of cricket to be played this season,” says Harmer, “but we’re top of the table and that’s where we want to stay.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we’d be silly not to think we’re in with a shout.”

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