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Proteas debutant aims for WACA feast

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Justin Chadwick

He's made a name for himself in South Africa as a healthy-eating spinner, and now Keshav Maharaj will be aiming to dine out on Australia's batsmen in his Test debut at the WACA Ground.

The Proteas took somewhat of a gamble by naming little-known spinner Maharaj in place of underdone paceman Morne Morkel for the first Test starting on Thursday.

Maharaj, a left-arm orthodox spinner, has snared 275 wickets from 77 first-class matches for KwaZulu-Natal.

And he's also become known for his passion about health within cricketing circles in South Africa.

Maharaj writes a health food blog, but there's been other things on his mind of late.

"I haven't blogged in a while because I've been travelling a lot," the 26-year-old said.

"I do a spin on unhealthy foods, and make it healthy using my recipes.

"In my customs, I have to abstain from meat on certain days. So the vegan options are quite nice, and very healthy obviously."

Maharaj idolised Indian legend Rahul Dravid growing up, and he lists Australian great Shane Warne, South African Paul Harris and Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan as spinners who he admired.

"Warne's ability to read batsmen and outsmart batsmen was sublime," Maharaj said.

"The skill factor he possessed was phenomenal as well."

Making his Test debut has been a long-time dream for Maharaj.

And he wants to make the most of it, albeit on a WACA deck not expected to offer the spinners much assistance.

"It's taken me seven years of first-class cricket to get here. There's been lots of ups and downs, but I've knuckled down and fought through everything," Maharaj said.

"There's going to be a lot of nerves. I'm just going to try to block out everything around me.

"Speaking to a lot of the players, there's been a lot of talk about the bounce of the WACA, so hopefully that could be something in my weaponry."

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