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ODI return consumed Harris

Daniel Brettig

March 13, 2012

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Ryan Harris got the important wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Australia v Sri Lanka, Commonwealth Bank Series, Perth, February 10, 2012
"I went over the top in trying too hard and ended up bowling a heap of rubbish, and so it's no surprise that I'm not in the West Indies now" © Getty Images
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As he prepares to match wits with his Australia team-mates Ricky Ponting and Ed Cowan in the Sheffield Shield final, Ryan Harris has admitted he was so consumed by keeping his place in the national ODI team that it resulted in his worst bowling in recent memory.

Recalled to the team for the triangular series against Sri Lanka and India after a break of more than a year, Harris was both expensive and wayward in his four matches, claiming only three wickets at a cost of 57 runs each while being taken for 5.51 runs per over.

They were figures in marked contrast to his Test efforts earlier in the summer and also his previous ODI appearances, and there was no surprise when he missed a place in the limited-overs segment of the Caribbean tour.

"The main reason I put it down to is I really wanted to be back in that one-day team," Harris told ESPNcricinfo. "After I got that opportunity I just tried so hard to be able to get wickets and bowl well, and in the end I tried too hard. It pushed me the other way. Normally I'd come back and be relaxed and just bowl the way I bowl.

"But I went over the top in trying too hard and ended up bowling a heap of rubbish, and so it's no surprise that I'm not in the West Indies now. But that's fine, purely my fault. A few people have said I shouldn't have been dropped, but I wasn't bowling well enough. That's the way it goes and I'm happy to be here now, working on those things that got me into the team in the first place, relaxed and bowling well."

There was plenty of anger in Harris, as much at himself as anyone else, at how his return to the ODI team unravelled, and it took time back in the familiar surrounds of the Queensland squad to regather his focus - helped by the presence of the Queensland coach and former South Australia captain Darren Lehmann.

"The game [after being dropped from the national team] against NSW, I bowled 27 overs and I think I bowled about eight good overs," Harris said. "The game against SA I started off bowling a lot better and by the end I felt really good: my pace was back, I had the swing back ... So it's been a really good time for me to get back and play with guys I've loved playing with and just relaxing a bit more.

"Having Darren there has been good as well, he's calmed me down a bit. But it's been real good to get back and not try too hard. That's exactly what I was doing back in that one-day team and it's no coincidence that I tried too over the top and ended up being dropped from the team, because I wanted it too much. It's been good to get back to how I was bowling when I was picked for Australia in the first place."

Now Harris will lead the Queensland attack, likely to also comprise Steve Magoffin, Ben Cutting, Alister McDermott and the captain James Hopes, in the Shield final against a Tasmanian side well versed in the art of winning finals. Harris acknowledged the importance of Ponting and Cowan, but counselled McDermott and Cutting in particular not to be distracted by the identity of the batsmen they confronted.

"You can definitely get into that frame of mind, but I think I've played enough cricket now to know that whoever you bowl to you've got to get them out," Harris said. "With Steve Magoffin likely to play, he's another who's played a lot of cricket as well and probably won't get too wrapped up in the moment.

"Ali McDermott's our youngest one and Ben Cutting, they're probably the ones who may get caught up in that moment, but I've played enough cricket to know no matter who's at the other end, whether it is Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar or Luke Butterworth or whoever, I'm still trying to do the same thing and trying to get them out and not worrying about anything else.

"I've been asked a lot about Ricky and how I'm going to get him out, but if we worry about Ricky too much the other guys can get away from us. The guys are excited about playing Tasmania as well, because they know we've probably been the best two teams in this competition for the year."

Harris' winding journey from Adelaide to Brisbane has lifted him into the Australian team and now has him playing a first Shield final at the age of 32. He noted that the assistant coach Martin Love played in 11 finals in 16 years - Queensland's era of plenty - while Ponting has played only one in 20 years, though he has often been waylaid by the international schedule.

"It's half the reason I moved to Queensland, to play in finals, and they've played in two since I've been here and I've missed them both," Harris said. "A lot of guys go through their careers not playing in one, so for me to play in a Shield final is up there almost with playing for your country. We've trained really hard to get to this and it is a great feeling to do it with your close mates who you spend a lot of time with. For me to play my first one at 32, I'm really excited about it."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Meety on (March 16, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

@zenboomerang - thye SIMPLE fact is at the start of Taylor's test career he was averaging well over 50 (hardly playing ODIs), he was dropped from the ODI side about 2 years (not playing ODIs) before he retired from Tests. In thos 2 years he averaged well above his career ave (43) with 46. "He must have been retired then... " was he or wasn't he??? Please get your facts straight, although I love the fact that you get up each morning to see what I type, keep it up - it keeps me amused! @jmcilhinney - IMO - a large reason why the Oz bowling was not as effective towards the end of the summer was that SL batting was brilliant. Yep players can be off, but when you have 3 out of 4 of the best ODI sides in the world playing I would expect a bit of variance in output. I do agree that over the course of 60 balls in an ODI a bowler has more chance to redeem himself than a batsmen. England's success over the past 2 yrs is based on keeping faith with the batsmen & rotating bowles on form.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 15, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

@jmcilhinney... Pity you can't actually understand the comments... lol... Try reading the article as it is explained in detail... Harris admits his mistakes & has learnt from his over eagerness to perform... With probably 10+ pace bowlers looking to make any Oz team at present there "is" enormous pressure to perform in every game while batters can have a few days off & still get picked... Your anology on batters is poorly explained & doesn't answer anything... Luckily England only have 4 pace bowlers to pick from with Anderson, Bresnan & Broad always 1st picks when not injured otherwise scratching for depth...

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 15, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

Lots of excuses here. Harris says he tried too hard and that's why he didn't perform. Commenters say that the Australian bowling dropped off because they were stressed about losing their place. zenboomerang says that Pattinson didn't bowl well because he was coming back from injury. Obviously when Australian bowlers don't perform there are always mitigating circumstances, or maybe there are times when they just don't bowl well. I think that Australia has plenty of bowling talent but there seems to be no admission here from anyone that they're capable of having a bad day simply because they're having a bad day or that they might not be good enough to dominate all the time. As for why batsmen get more tolerance than bowlers, consider that a dropped catch early in an innings can be the difference between a failure and a hundred, while a bad bowling performance means bowling badly for many overs. Even a batsman in great form can get a duck, but good bowling rarely gets caned consistently.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

@Busie1979... Agree (as usual :) )... Been very hard on the bowlers to perform every game while batters can get regular failures yet are retained... Hilfy did well in 4 out of 5 games... With Watson, D & M Hussey, Warner, Lee, Pattinson playing 7 games in 13 days there will be a strain on all players & then just a very short break to the Test series... Hope we don't lose Test players due to the heavy schedule of ODI's & T20's beforehand...

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 14, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

@Meety :- "Tubby Taylor's stats were better when he wasn't in the test set up"... Sure Meety :P ... He must have been retired then... lol... :- "our test bowlers did not look so good during the tri-series"... Try reading the article - it explains the reasoning behind it... As I mentioned in another article weeks ago that Harris was under enormous personal pressure to perform & his "trying too hard" didn't work out... Hilfenhaus bowled in 5 matches with 9 wkts @23.22 & econ @5.31 had a 5/33 & MoM award - only got smacked around once... Watson was his usual efficient self... Patto came back from an injury layoff... "did not look good" - lol... You expect too much from a team going through a rebuilding process while beating quality opposition...

Posted by Meety on (March 14, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

@Busie1979 - I agree with you (keeping faith in a core), but I also tempre that with the fact that they are managing workloads & exploring options. Personally, I didn't want to see Hilfy in the ODI side, he did well, but I thought Ali McDermott would of been a better choice. I don't mind that Harris is for the time being out of the picture as I think we need some specialists for different formats. The NSP, whilst experienced, are handling a dynamic phase of Oz cricket & as long as they COMMUNICATE, a player shouldn't drop their shoulders to much if they aren't in a squad or playing XI. Personally thought the whole balance of the side was askew, but there are no real important 50 over tournaments looming atm, so I don't mind experimentation.

Posted by Busie1979 on (March 14, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

@Nadeem1976 - there is a difference between having pressure to perform (which is good) and making players stressed about failure to perform (which affects confidence). Selectors need to show some loyalty to a core playing group to take this team to the next level. Players should be dropped for sustained underperformance (eg. Mitchell Johnson in tests), not for a bad game or two. It can't help you're confidence if you are always worried that you are playing for your spot in the next game. Harris has been messed around by selection policy. But he was not the only one. The bowling unit's performance as a whole dropped off as the triangular series wore on. The selectors aren't getting the best out of this bowling group.

Posted by Busie1979 on (March 14, 2012, 1:00 GMT)

Harris had to make these comments, but as I've said in previous posts, this selection policy is undermining the bowlers confidence. Constant chopping and changing is to blame. After the 3rd game, the bowling line up changed in every game. This one bad game and you're out mentality affects the bowlers psyche. Harris is a case in point. The great West Indies bowling unit had stability despite a wealth of talent and so did the Australian world champion team. The selectors should tolerate guys having a few bad games - just lke they do for batsman.

Posted by Meety on (March 13, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

@dsig3 - I sort of thought they did too, but when they got belted - they started to stray. This si the scenario I would dread to see happen to Siddle. I hope there was no lasting ramifications for Pattinson, Harris & Hilf. I think Starc is sort of immune to it as he bowls the same way in both formats, which is why I'd be happy for him not to be pigeon-holed as a test only bowler. @VivGilchrist - I certainly think it is plausible for a player to pick up bad habits from limited over cricket & take them into test cricket. It can work well (& often does), but I reckon Cook would not of had the Bradmanesque Ashes if he had been playing ODIs prior to the series. Tubby Taylor's stats were better when he wasn't in the test set up. Its harder to say with bowlers, but our test bowlers did not look so good during the tri-series.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (March 13, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

Australian system is showing why it's best in the world. Suddenly australia has too many quality fast bowlers and every fast bowler is feeling pressure in australia. That makes aussies team more powerful and dangerous again.

Harris needs to learn from McGrath, when ever there is competition start bowling in straight line and length instead of speed and aggression. It' more important to stop the flow of runs in ODI than taking wickets. You got to learn that art but you cannot learn that art under pressure.

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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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