No declaration in sight for Chris Harris

KIWI STALWART: Chris Harris in action for New Zealand in 2002.
KIWI STALWART: Chris Harris in action for New Zealand in 2002.

Popular former Black Cap Chris Harris has traded in his player-coach duties in Zimbabwe for Papatoetoe. Sam Worthington asks Harry, 43, why.

What are you doing in Papatoetoe?

I spent two years in Zimbabwe and my contract ended. I was looking to come back to Canterbury and work there but, unfortunately, all the positions had been filled. Papatoetoe came up with a reasonably good offer to play club cricket and coach and work among the schools. I've temporarily moved up to Auckland but it's been tough because I've had to leave the family at home. But if we can make things work here then the plan would be to get the family up.

So you're keen to keep playing for a while yet?

Yeah, they were keen for me to play. I guess I've still got a couple of years left. I've been getting a few wickets, not as many runs as I would like. It's just a matter of practising what you preach really. It's much easier to do it from the sidelines, to tell people how to play rather than actually having to go out there and do it for yourself. But I'm quite enjoying the challenge.

Are you copping lots of chatter from the opposition?

It's actually pretty good up here in Auckland. I think some of the younger guys are copping it a bit but fortunately at this stage they've tended to leave me alone which is quite kind.

So you're hoping to make coaching a career?

Yeah, I'm enjoying it and like any coach you want to go up the ranks, so the long-term aim would be to finish off my level three. And then, with a couple of years' experience in Zimbabwe, a couple of years here, it would be nice to move up the ranks and get involved in domestic cricket or a position internationally. Whether it be in a specialised role like fielding, there seems to be so many more opportunities in cricket now when you look at all the T20 competitions around the world. The IPL, the Big Bash, it would be wonderful to get involved in one of those tournaments in a specialist role initially and perhaps in time that could grow into a bigger role.

Has anyone asked for advice on how to bowl like you?

Actually, quite a few have but it's pretty hard to teach [laughs]. I say if you can do the opposite to my action then you're heading in the right direction. There are actually quite a few people that are quite good at copying it but it's not something I'll be recommending.

What are your thoughts on the current Black Caps setup?

There was huge media pressure back here after the first test so to turn it around in Colombo was brilliant. The resolve of Taylor and Williamson was exactly what we were after and it was great to watch. Obviously, there's a new group and Bondy's involved and Mike Hesson and Bob Carter. I think they've got a good crew there and they're going to put their own stamp on it. There was always going to be a little bit of a transition period, people getting used to their styles. But, hopefully, they've gone through that transition now and they're playing a brand of cricket, especially in this test match, that is good to watch.

What are you up to outside of cricket?

I'm looking to do a little bit of work with Sky. There's talk of a show on The Cricket Show, along the lines of "An Over With Harry". We'll get some celebrities in that have some cricketing ability or knowledge. There will be a quick interview and then six balls with me testing their abilities off a bowling machine. A kid's one that can fire the ball down about 100ks. It should be a bit of fun.

Have you got any candidates you'd like to test?

Well, Marc Ellis would be a good one, because he's passionate about cricket. Perhaps Jeremy Wells, All Blacks like Ali Williams and people along those lines. Hopefully, people will be interested to see their cricketing ability.

Are you getting grief from Cantabrians about living in Auckland?

Well I've got 3-year-old twins, so I try and get home as often as I can. It's been a little bit difficult with the transition of being up here and coaching most days but whenever I get a break I try to get home.