Australia v South Africa 2012-13 September 24, 2012

Harris expected to miss South Africa Tests

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The fast bowler Ryan Harris has all but ruled himself out of Australia's Test series against South Africa this summer as he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery. Harris had an operation two months ago and he believes it is "pretty unrealistic" for him to return for the South African series, which starts at the Gabba on November 9, and is instead hoping to be available for the Test series against Sri Lanka, beginning in Hobart on December 14.

Harris played two of the three Tests during Australia's tour of the Caribbean in April and was Man of the Match in Barbados for his five wickets and unbeaten half-century. Since he made his Test debut in early 2010 only Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, who have played far fewer matches, have had better Test bowling averages for Australia than Harris, who has collected 47 wickets at 23.63 in 12 appearances.

However, his workload has taken a physical toll and the Australian team management is reluctant to overuse Harris, who turns 33 next month. The only time Harris has played all the Tests in a series was during his debut series in New Zealand, and he knows that it does not make sense to take any risks in an attempt to rush himself back into contention for the South Africa matches.

"I would love to be able to be back against South Africa but at this stage it is pretty unrealistic. It is one of those things I can't control," Harris told News Limited newspapers. "I will get back for Queensland and let the rest take care of itself before any Australian stuff. In theory I will be up and going in six weeks but it is an injury we will not rush. The pain is going, I just have to build confidence now but believe I can get back well."

Although the absence of Harris is a blow for Australia, the depth in their fast-bowling stocks should allow the attack to remain strong against South Africa. If Pattinson and Cummins remain fit they will be in contention for the Gabba Test having both impressed in their initial Tests last summer, while Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle will shoulder much of the workload. The left-armer Mitchell Starc is another candidate.

The Australians will be battling for the No.1 spot on the ICC's Test rankings when they take on South Africa, having not lost a Test series since Michael Clarke took over as captain. South Africa are on top of the rankings table and have not been defeated in a series since Australia beat them 2-1 in early 2009, but in their past 20 Tests South Africa have not won any two consecutive matches.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • crashed on September 26, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    @Meety lol yes i do agree nothing wrong in backing your own team ... maybe the question i have asked to chris sun were the wrong one i should have asked how many the Ausies had lost ... but that is water under the bridge - i see he let you answer me and stay quite silent since then. As for you i had also noticed that you have been positive towards SA during the England Series(appreciated) ... As for this comming series and the Ausies in general .... I look forward to it hopefully the referees will be clued up and we will have a good series :) May the best team win :) Good Luck ... for now lets get our teams throught the super eights and let them fire it out at the 20/20s :) BTW i only start visiting and commenting (later) on this site since SA had played in England this year so my experience on this site is short lived. I did however enjoyed the way the SA team proved the pommies wrong on all predictions even during the last third match where they still predicted a 1-1 outcome ;)

  • Meety on September 26, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    @chicko1983 on (September 26 2012, 02:00 AM GMT)- ah right you are! LOL! @Biggus on (September 26 2012, 01:37 AM GMT) - power of positive thought! LOL!

  • chicko1983 on September 26, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    @ meety, consistent underperformance may indicate that you have been overrating them in the first place!

  • Biggus on September 26, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    @Beertjie-Looking forward to it mate, should be a great summer especially given that last year was a bit of a dud.@Meety-Wish I had your confidence mate, I still see holes in our batting and the potential for major collapses, although if the majority of our quicks can stay on the park our bowling should be handy. I really haven't a clue how this will pan out.

  • Meety on September 25, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    @crashed on (September 25 2012, 15:10 PM GMT) - that's commendable that you don't trash other teams, I unfortunately can't say that. What I will say, is that I don't trash another side unless provoked, & I PREFER to be positive about other teams. In regards to Sth Africa, during Oz's reign at the top, the Saffas were the one side I was always nervous about our boys playing against, & felt that they would be the new #1 side once Oz was toppled. On paper, IMO, Sth Africa are the best side in the Test world, (not by a lot), however, I always have to factor that puzzling underperformance that seems to dog the Saffas. I can't wait for the clash, as I think it will provide some great cricket, I do like making predictions & I am backing Oz 2-1! (Did you note @Greatest Game had his comment deleted off this site??? - LOL!)

  • Beertjie on September 25, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Shattered by this news, but hope he comes good (fitness-wise) later. Agree with you @Biggus. Harris is way better to lead the attack of young guns than Siddle, so he should always play if fit. Tough battle coming up, but Cummins needs to play at the Gabba together with Pattinson to keep the Saffas off-balance.

  • crashed on September 25, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    @Meety I seen that you have remarked on the last drawn series between SA and Ausies so at least you know what is going on. I have done the effort to do some research with regard to SA wins/Losses since we lost to the Ausies in 2006 and the record is there for all to check. 19 tests series played since April 2006. Only one series lost to Australia in 2009. The rest either won or drawn 12 wins, 6 drawn and 1 loss. Not bad at all In fact South Africa and Australia is drawn in this period since both won a series in each others backyard and Australia drawn the last series against South africa in South Africa. The scale will be tipped this time i am sure. I make no predictions to which side will win since i foresee a classic and epic battle between the 2 teams.I do not trash any team however for i respect both teams for their accomplishments during this period.

  • popcorn on September 25, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Thanks to Craig mcDermott,we now have a GOOD Fast Bowling Stock.With Back up to cover injuries.South Africa will not know what hit them.

  • Meety on September 25, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    @crashed on (September 25 2012, 06:00 AM GMT) - perhaps you should of made your point rather than make a dubious remark about Oz's performance post 2009, which you must admit, is better than what you thought! I would say that your "point" needs to be heeded BOTH ways! @chicko1983 on (September 25 2012, 01:22 AM GMT) - they ended Hlditch's career! LOL! It's a pretty lame arguement that FFL has put up, I s'pose he was inspired by the fact the G Smith has claimed 3 English captains careers! LOL!

  • RandyOZ on September 25, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    @FFL, Hammond - first of all, welcome back, we've really missed you guys during your self imposed hiatuses from all things cricket during the entire South Africa and Pakistan series'. How were your breaks? Secondly, considering the number of English caps they have handed out, the lack of depth in England is plain for everyone to see. Not to mention the fact 50% of the past 20 debutants aren't even English.

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