India in Australia 2011-12

Harris recalled, Watson's prospects cloudy

Daniel Brettig

December 29, 2011

Comments: 77 | Text size: A | A

Ryan Harris made a comeback to competitive cricket, Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars, BBL, Brisbane, December 20, 2011
Ryan Harris returned to cricket in the BBL and has been included for Sydney © Getty Images
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Ryan Harris has been deemed fit to return to Australia's squad and will be considered for a recall in the New Year's Test match against India in Sydney. However Shane Watson's prospects for the remainder of the Test summer look increasingly cloudy.

Watson was unable to be considered due to the calf injury that reduced him to spectator status during the team's batting camp ahead of the Melbourne Test.

It was better news for Harris, whose recovery from a hip complaint and adherence to a strict training schedule to get his body up to the rigours of a Test match means he is now in contention for a place in the SCG team. His inclusion came at the expense of Mitchell Starc and Daniel Christian, the 12th and 13th men in Melbourne omitted for the SCG.

Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting shored up their spots with vital runs at the MCG, while Brad Haddin was also retained as wicketkeeper and vice-captain despite a difficult match with the bat and an inconsistent one with the gloves.

Australia's captain Michael Clarke is an avowed fan of Harris' bustling seam and swing bowling, which proved highly successful in Sri Lanka and South Africa before he complained of a hip problem in the second innings in Cape Town.

Given a recent history of missing matches due to frequent injury complaints, Harris was put through a miniature pre-season training program between then and the end of 2011, designed to build up his endurance and resilience for the five days of a Test.

"It all starts again on 3 January and we'll go into the game with confidence and momentum," the national selector John Inverarity said. "Ryan Harris has been added to the XI that played in the first Test in Melbourne. Ryan has had carefully monitored preparation, which has gone to plan. Mitchell Starc and Daniel Christian, who were both in squad for the first Test have been omitted but remain very much in our thinking."

Watson's calf troubles remain a source of frustration and conjecture for the selectors, after the vice-captain essentially ruled himself out of both Melbourne and Sydney. The matter of whether or not Watson is to be recalled purely as a batsman is still in debate, with team management now committed to the selection of fully-fit players, as evidenced by Harris' lengthy rehab before Sydney.

"Shane has not fully recovered from his right calf injury and is therefore not available for the Sydney Test," Australian team physio Alex Kountouris said. "He will continue his rehabilitation and hopefully be available for one of the remaining Test matches."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by zenboomerang on (January 2, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

@kaarthick.eie ... Indian batters have never faced Harris - but with a 21 bowling average it will be interesting to watch them face him at Sydney or Perth... Actually before this series India hadn't seen Pattinson, Lyon before MCG... Siddle once in Mohali & Hilfenhaus twice in India... So Melbourne was their first impression ever of our bowling attack at home...

Posted by Tumo on (January 1, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

rahulcricket - no, it was 8-215 in the first innings. and 12-358. You're quite a way off. And Swann bowled far more overs, with a far better economy rate. Just to remind you. Also, RandyOZ, as a Pom, I'm shocked to say I actually agree with you. Harris IN, Hilfy OUT, Haddin OUT, anyone that can put a pair of keeping gloves on the right way IN. It will be very interesting to see where the Oz selectors go, with a world class but injury prone bowler in Harris, 2 young guns who have all the requirements to become world class in Pattinson and Cummins, an honest trier and a workhorse in Siddle, and a more than serviceable spinner in Lyon. Also hope Hauritz pushes Lyon, as an off-spinner I rated him very highly, not in Swann/Ajmal's class but a damn sight better than Paul Harris, for example. AND you have a class all-rounder in Watson! Now all Aus need to do is sort out that horrendous-looking top order!

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (December 31, 2011, 14:31 GMT)

@LANDL47 . PICKING 8 WKTS BY GIVING 209 RUNS AND YOU CALL THIS GOOD BOWLING. HMMMM . I THINK JASON KREZA WAS BETTER THAN THIS HAVING A FIGURE OF 12 - 235 IN NAGPUR .

Posted by kaarthick.eie on (December 31, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

harris definitely gets banged by indian batsman

Posted by Venkat_Pentela on (December 31, 2011, 6:47 GMT)

@ ramgoat: India is not #1 not just because they won on Flat pitches in India. And Indian Legends are not great just because they scored in India. Look at the data/history before you make comments. It is clear Irrespective of 5 losses or 8 looses in a row, India is still a damn good team if not #1. Tendulkar is still a #1 in modern cricket. Dravid is still a great wall irrespective of clean bowlds in Melbourne. They are still better than most players in most situations. Cricket is a game. And all players make mistakes. Win/losses are part of the game. If any country win all the time irrespective of conditions, it's boring. And also no one is perfect. Yes. India has flat surfaces and Indian players are best on flat surfaces. Because most Indian viewers want fast scoring. Evidence is in evolution of IPL. So, players adapted to Flat surfaces. At the same time, they did not get to that position by just winning in India. History shows they will bounce back. Go India..!.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2011, 6:16 GMT)

i dnt understand why ppl talk abt seniors not retiring. Look the at best partnerships in both teams.. it was hussey-ponting and sachin-rahul.. apart frm that if you just look at the performance of the seniors and the rest like gauti, dhoni, and the ever changing number 6 who are supposed to carry india forward.. If the big 3 retiere, i m sure india will not even feature in the top 4 atleast..

Posted by RoJayao on (December 31, 2011, 5:40 GMT)

Watson will be back but this is very disappointing for such an important player to be missing at such an important time. I know he'll be more disappointed than anyone but to me he seems like a chronic over-trainer. For a guy as fit as he is to be breaking down so often says to me that he needs to reign his training regime in and save himself for the matches. And yes I know his original hamstring injury came during the test in SA but more than likely it arose from stress accrued during training and only went twang later. The calf was definitely training. He should stick to stretching, yoga and swimming, forget running and go easy bowling in the nets. Just my two bobs worth.

Posted by icecracked on (December 31, 2011, 4:51 GMT)

Want to play four fast bowlers, don't drop the spinner, Michael Clarke you are one of the selectors now drop yourself do the Team a favor your input to the side is minimal anyway.

Posted by SabirParvaiz on (December 31, 2011, 3:42 GMT)

Yet another opportunity to bring back Usman Khawaja. With Shane Watson injured and Marsh had such a poor match at the MCG at #3, all fingers point to young Khawaja to reestablish himself.

Posted by Slobberdog on (December 31, 2011, 2:08 GMT)

I'd really like to see the Australian selectors show some balls here and pick 4 quicks. It's the decision that their opposition would like the least. From the selectors' POV, I suspect that there's the fear that should India hit 400+ against an attack that failed to include a specialist spinner, they will be pilloried by the press. This Indian batting line-up, if it performs to its potential, should hit 400+ at least once in the series, no matter who's bowling. If, on such an occasion, the attack contained a spinner, even if he was completely ineffective, you probably wouldn't hear a peep from the same people - except weak apologies for the spinner's performance, followed by calls for a different spinner, should poor results continue. In the meantime, barring injuries, we've got a bunch of potentially world-class quicks queuing up in the wings.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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