Keshav Maharaj On ‘Emotional’ Kingsmead Heroics: ‘I Wasn’t Frustrated At All’.. Keshav Maharaj’s vivid intensity as he bowled the Proteas to a first Test win at Kingsmead since 2013 wasn’t pent-up frustration, merely just a “hunger and desire to win a game for your country”.
The wily 32-year-old left-arm spinner – whose figures of 7/32 illuminated a 220-run victory over Bangladesh – is generally quite animated anyway when he simply bowls a good delivery, but his celebrations for wickets were definitely turned up a notch, particularly during his first two scalps late on the fourth day.
He had gone wicket-less for 37 overs in the Tigers’ first innings while seeing his new partner-in-crime, Simon Harmer, claim four, leading to some wry speculation that he was simply annoyed.
“I wasn’t frustrated at all,” Maharaj said just after claiming the official Man of the Match award.
“I’ve played a lot of domestic cricket here so I know you’re not going to take wickets here all the time.
“I was in a good space with how the ball was coming out of my hand. Sure, it was a bit frustrating to not getting reward, but having a world-class performer (in Harmer) at the other end is great. It’s good to have that hunger and desire to win a game for your country.”
Spurring him on even more was the presence of his father Athmanand, a former wicketkeeper himself, as well as his mother Kanchan and sister Tarisma at the ground, who even delayed the Proteas’ logistics for a few minutes by posing for an official photograph with him near the main stand’s grass embankment.
“It was very emotional for me. I love playing here, it’s my home,” said Maharaj.
“To have my family witness me help the team win made it even more special. We’ve heard before that our record here at Kingsmead is not great.
“I’m just pleased I could change that perception and perhaps prompt the guys to want to come play more here in future.”
His motivation demands met, Maharaj then focused on simply keeping things simple and tight.
After all, an admittedly excellent Kingsmead pitch didn’t suddenly transform into a raging turner overnight.
“The game plan didn’t change too much over the five days to be honest,” said Maharaj.
“It’s not a traditional Kingsmead wicket with spin and bounce. There was a bit on offer, but I don’t think it was consistent enough to say it’s normal.
“It was just about being persistent with lines and lengths and make it uncomfortable for the batters with field settings. We were fortunate that it worked.”
Given what eventually transpired, that’s an understatement.