Harris steps away from BBL
Ryan Harris' recovery from shoulder surgery has consumed his BBL campaign for the Brisbane Heat, as the highly regarded fast bowler strives to be considered for Australia's 2013 Test tours of India and England.
Having undergone rotator cuff surgery in August, Harris had originally hoped to be fit in time to take part in Australia's home Test series against Sri Lanka, starting on Friday in Hobart.
But a careful recuperation process has taken longer than first thought, first ruling him out of any cricket before Christmas and now extending into the BBL phase of summer. While Harris has returned to the bowling crease, he is yet to deliver a ball at full pace or off his long run, and it has been decided that he is better off not rushing back for Twenty20 duty.
"It's disappointing because I am pretty close but to push now might not turn out to be the best thing for longer term," Harris said. "Everyone agrees that I will be best suited to come back with Toombul in club cricket first up in January and then aim to be considered for the first Queensland games after the BBL.
"I've been feeling pretty good in the nets so far, and while I'm not bowling off the full run-up or at full pace, I'm very positive about getting up to that level soon."
James Hopes, captain of the Bulls and the Heat, was hopeful that Harris' conservative approach would reap benefits at the international level in the new year.
"I pushed myself too hard with a knee injury last year for the first half of the BBL," Hopes said. "I was fortunate enough to be able to take stock and opt for a less aggressive recovery schedule that got me back fit and well in time for the remaining Shield and one-dayers, and that's what we're going to do with Ryano.
"He is bowling really well at this stage of his recovery, but it would have been unfair to throw him back into a BBL game and expect him to go full tilt from the outset. This is the best thing for him and will give him plenty of playing time for Queensland and allow him to build a case for the Australian tours to India and England.
"I'm firmly convinced that with his bowling skill set, he is comfortably in the ranks of the best Test bowling line-up that Australia can field."
When fit, Harris is greatly valued by Australia's captain Michael Clarke and the national selectors for his combination of swing, speed and accuracy. His bowling was a key plank of Australia's series win in Sri Lanka in 2011, utilising a skidding, wicket-to-wicket method that will be suited to India.
Beyond that lies the trip to England for the first leg of dual Ashes series.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here