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Harris steps away from BBL

Daniel Brettig

December 10, 2012

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

Ryan Harris opened the bowling after Australia lost the toss, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 1st Day, April, 7, 2012
Ryan Harris last played for Australia in the West Indies in April © AFP
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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

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Posted by Moppa on (December 12, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

@hris, 'so often'? You mean, 'once'...? @meursault, I agree entirely that any of Starc, Cummins and Hilfenhaus can come into contention under favourable conditions or for variety. We could add Cutting to that list and, unfortunately, Johnson too. In reality, given injuries, this 'variety' will be injected into the line-up in any case. Re Hilf in England, I also agree - it's not just a horses for courses selection, he's got to bowl like 2011/12, not 2010/11 or 2012/13. When he loses pace his swing is earlier and less threatening and he goes from very good to very innocuous very quickly!

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 11, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

@HatsforBats... re: Patto not completing a Test series - he managed to play for Aust A against NZ, then the Test series against NZ, followed by 2 more Tests against India - for me thats 4 games in a row before any injury & obviously with hindsight the selectors were wrong in over using him... The Aust A game was a shoot-out between the 3 young quicks, so none were holding anything back on an unresponsive AB Oval...

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 11, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

@wellrounded87... Yes agree the 2nd Test, we needed a 5th bowler for AO as the curator had left extra grass (for the first time) on the pitch which made it hold together & lost the spin on days 4/5... Can't agree on the Kallis argument for Pattinson - we had Watson out because he couldn't bowl with no equal replacement, while I would rate Patto with Morkel as a key bowler... PS: McDonald is out for the season, but I have been watching Cutting with growing enthusiasm - could be turning into something special :) ...

Posted by hris on (December 11, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

@meety. Bowlers like Copeland, Hasting are not International Level. They will NEVER worry a team like SA or England. Harris might win us a game but will surely be responsible for losing one after that, cause he will break down midgame as he has done so often. I understand that shield performance must be rewarded. But please pick Cutting or NCN than copland, hasting, bird, or butterworth. Criteria should be performance but also Potential Talent( im sure Hyclass would disagree). But look at Steyn for example, he struggled for the first 3 odd years. Was known for his pace but was also leaky. Only when he was about 24-25 that he truly became world class. But the saffers identified his potential.

Posted by kamranmalik7 on (December 11, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

I love him. He is a true Fast bowler. Reminded me of Mcdermot

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 11, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

love it. love harris. what a star. he should be right in the mix for the india and ashes tours. siddle him and pattinson would be my first choice fast bowling line up with the mitchells and of course cummins putting pressure on although hilfenhaus destroyed england in 09 so if he is in form you would probably have to pick him

Posted by Moppa on (December 11, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

Correcting my second post - Harris broke down during the Melbourne Ashes Test of 2010-11, after bowling 28 overs.

Posted by Moppa on (December 11, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

@Marcio, fair point, but I can't recall Harris breaking down during a Test (I could be wrong though???). Perhaps that's down to luck, but I think also his injuries tend to be chronic and build up over time, requiring him to be rested to recuperate, rather than sudden breakdowns like Pattinson in Adelaide. If he's 100% fit to start the match, he goes straight into my team, with the only caveat that possibly he and Siddle are similar type bowlers and on some surfaces you might leave one out in favour of, say, Starc for variety. He was our most dangerous bowler in Sri Lanka last year and so I would love to see him fit for India.

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 11, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

This is good news for Ryan, the extra recovery time & being able to play out the 2nd half of the SS season is important for where we are at with our bowling stocks prior to the Indian & England Test series - 9 Tests over 6 mths... Harris is the only Oz bowler that can keep an end tied up & take wkts at the same time - for me, he is the only no.1 bowler in Oz atm - Johnson at his best is only equal to Harris, not better - i.e. the Perth Ashes Test where both took 9 wkts...

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 11, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

@Drew Foster... Yes, Hilfy would have been perfect against the Doctor - many were saying that before the Adelaide Test... The selectors made crucial errors for the first 2 Tests - the experiment of Quiney - the lack of a good allrounder - a skidding seamer type like Harris for AO - then Clarkes poor use of Siddle at AO, who looked baked in the 1st innings, let alone in the 2nd... A generally poor job done by all 5 of the NSP...

Posted by meursault on (December 11, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

Yes, Moppa, they're our best three fast bowlers right now Pattinson, Harris and Siddle with Starc (for left arm variety) and Cummins (for X-factor and speed) next in line. I also think Hilfenhaus is a chanve for English conditions where he performed well last time if he can sort out his action and get his 140 km/h pace back.

All this is hypothetical though due to the ongoing fast bowling injury crisis.

Posted by Meety on (December 11, 2012, 0:09 GMT)

@Drew foster - I agree, I don't think Hilfy bowled that badly, he was economical - which WOULD of been a huge relief for Pup on Day2 & 3 at the WACA!

Posted by Meety on (December 11, 2012, 0:06 GMT)

@hris on (December 10 2012, 14:57 PM GMT) - that was NOT my intention! I did say COULD not WOULD, & in all my other posts I have congratulated Sth Africa for geting up off the canvas & delivering after all the hammerings they took. Injuries DID play a part in the series, that is a FACT, Sth Africa had a crucial injury in the 1st Test with Duminy. I don't think Kallis was EVER 100% fit all tour, Phillander & Steyn weren't always 100% either. I think losing Patto in the 2nd Test was the worst of the injuries, but in some ways we deserved what we got because the "plan" was supposed to be to rotate the younger pacers around the experienced Hilfy & Siddle. That "plan" was reported only a few days before the series started - we didn't follow it & we got burned. Sth Africa didn't have de Marchant, we were missing Watto & Harris or Cummins (btw - had Copeland been fit I would of considered him instead of Hastings), all things are variables that can be mulled over.

Posted by Marcio on (December 10, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

@hris, I don't think Meety is making is excuses. It's perfectly normal to be disappointed at losing by such a tiny margin, & the fact is the final result did not reflect the way most of the series was played. In the end the key moment was Pattinson's breakdown, which changed the entire series - simply because of his role in the team and the timing of it - what SA did with bat/ball came after that. Then there were those DRS decisions - e.g. du Faf on 37 in Adelaide, no more than 2mm in it, pitching right on leg. You can't get much closer than that. Not that there's any point lamenting it. The old cliche "the winners were better when it mattered" is little more than descriptive, like saying they were ahead when the final whistle sounded. At any rate, luck tends to go in cycles. The main thing is the team keeps playing good cricket & winning often, learn from mistakes, which has been true for 2 years. The last thing we want is the team to develop a victim mentality, like team India.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 10, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

A bit harsh on Harris - everytime he has broken down he has gone through the pain and completed the match. If he was fit should be picked, you pick the best attack to get 20 wickets for the current match. No need to worry about future matches so cant see a problem with Harris playing one then missing a game.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 10, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

Brendan Carter - If I recall the Adelaide pitch where Hilfenhaus didnt swing the ball, neither did the likes of Steyn, Morkel both these guys looked pop gun as well and we saw in Perth how good Steyn is. Hilfenhaus bowled more overs than Siddle but did it with less fuss so you cant blame that for costing Siddle a game. If Wade took that catch of Hilfenhaus then he could very well have won us the game. As for Johnson he bowled well in the last test, looks to have improved and outbowled Starc by a mile. When on song has the ability to really hurry up a batsman so on he last performance should be playing this test.

Posted by HatsforBats on (December 10, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

@ hris, I wasn't suggesting Harris goes from rehab to test match bowling. And where is the sense in preferring to risk young bowlers who are just as likely to break down? If you hasn't noticed neither Cummins nor Pattinson have managed to finish a series injury free.

Posted by LewisDuckworth on (December 10, 2012, 21:47 GMT)

I don't see the point of Harris trying to get back for our tours of India and England, as he isn't capable of playing 2 consecutive tests anyway as his body isn't up to it. He'd be better off focusing on being a 50 overplayer for Australia and that's how we can rest out bolwers better. In the future they should look at having a different pace attack for each form of the game. Test Match: Pattinson, Hilfenhaus, Siddle. ODI's: Harris, McKay, Starc. Twenty/20: Cummins, Hazlewood, Johnson. That's the way for Australian cricket to go forward with ensuring our fast bowlers aren;t burned out in my opinion.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 10, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

Agreed he might not do a full series, but he is the perfect replacement for bowlers who are either injured or rested. His fitness is unquestioned, his heart is huge & he still, still, delivers the ball at pace with swing & seam movement. In other words, the perfect back up to our new generation of bowlers. Is he a long term selection? Nope. Does he deserve a start in touring teams. Certainly.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (December 10, 2012, 21:14 GMT)

@landl47, you pick your best team to win. Anything less and you are gifting out Aussie caps and ripping off the paying public. The fact is Harris is the best bowler in the country as he has all the skill sets and therefore should be first picked. @hris, those are not excuses, Harris was a huge loss v SAf. How would the Saffas gone without Steyn for all 3 Tests? and losing Patto during Adelaide was crucial. Aus then played Perth with a third string attack when you consider Harris, Siddle, Patto, Hilfy, and Cummings all missing. SAf is no1 but I dont think the 1-0 scoreline was truly reflective of the series.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (December 10, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

A lot of people blaming Pattinson breaking down on our Adelaide loss might forget that Kallis was injured and so was Philander.

I think the biggest reason we lost that match was because the selectors chose a sub par batting specialist to replace an all rounder. Cutting, Christian, Mcdonald or even Dave Hussey all could have done more with the bat than Quiney and helped out with the bowling.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 10, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

@landl47, Aus needs Harris for the next year more than they need Cummins. Once Cummins builds himself physically he would replace Harris with the likely pace attack then being the young trio of Pattinson, Starc and Cummins. In the meantime, Harris could serve Oz very well indeed if he were taken care of via rotation. We need variety in the attack: skidders, swingers, hit the deck hard - that's what makes the Saffers trio so good.

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 10, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

@Drew, @Brendan - Siddle and Hilfenhaus are both rubbish. Second string bowlers only playing because our guns are not fit. Harris, Pattinson and Cummins are literally years ahead of these two hacks - and their first class record is proof!

Posted by   on (December 10, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

@Brendan Carter one of the commentators (can't remember which) suggested that the mistake was playing Hilfy in Adelaide where he should have been rested but that it was vital that he played in perth to bowl into the wind. Australia went into the 3rd test without a genuine swing bowler which ultimately cost them the game. Hilfy bowled more than siddle in adelaide by my recollection (and took the vital wicket of Smith in the second innings) so I'm not really sure what your point is. Hilfy is a first pick most of the time, but it would seem that with perth the next match he should have been rested to play in perth. I'm glad you're not a selector or the pace bowling would be all 'hit the deck hard' type bowlers.

Posted by hris on (December 10, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

@HatsforBats -- noway. i like harris but he has play a few matches before he should even be considered for the test team. "The decent number of backup options" are useless, if he breaks down during a game. And i would rather risk a Pattinson or Cummins than a 33year old Harris. One more injury and he's gone anyway.

And meety - please stop throwing excuses and ifs for why we lost against the saffers. They played better when it mattered and thats that. We didnt deserve to be the number one team. But I see us getting better. Maybe in a year. Our time will come./ Untill then the saffers are the best in the world.

Posted by   on (December 10, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

Can we get over the age thing here? Bowlers are too young so they break down, or too old so they break down. I don't buy it.

Selectors job is to pick the best bowlers to take 20 wickets. Whats age got to do with it? Form and experience is what matters.

If mcgrath was still bowling as well as he did when playing for the Aussies would you drop him cause he's old?

Posted by   on (December 10, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

First quick picked when fit, for mine. Hope to see him back soon.

Posted by   on (December 10, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Harris needs to practice on lasting a series?

Posted by   on (December 10, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

Hilfenhaus, bowling pure and utter tripe, cost us Aussies`, the first two Test`s. What were the selectors thinking, he is back bowling his round arm action, which is total crap, the best batsmen in the world, have no problems with 133 klick away swinger`s, bowled from the centre of the bowling crease. It also cost Peter Siddle playing in Perth, because we were only left with 1 fast bowler, in Adelaide, and Siddle bowled his heart out, while Hilfenhaus was happy chucking pies, at the Saffa`s. I hope they never select Hilfenhaus again, he has had way too many chances, like the golden child Mitchell Johnson, we have 6 to 8 better bowlers in `OZ`, than Hilfy, or Mitch. Siddle is the attack leader, the young fast bowlers love him, Starc needs to play to get more experience, and any other young quick in `OZ`, need`s too play, if fit.

Posted by Marcio on (December 10, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

Let's see how he goes. He will have to prove himself fully fit. We have just seen just how disastrous it can be to lose a leading bowler early in a game and being left with 3 bowlers. It cost AUS the 2nd test, and so depleted the other bowlers that it resulted in four completely different pace bowlers playing the next game - and that may have cost us that game too. So from a certain 1-0 up and dominance we went to 1-0 down in 5 just days of test cricket. Admittedly, if Watson was playing, we could better cover the 4th bowler if Harris broke down.

Posted by HatsforBats on (December 10, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

@ landl47, I understand your point but considering the decent number of back up options for the bowling attack and his performances, I'd pick him whenever I could.

Posted by Meety on (December 10, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

A fully fit Harris, bowling near or at peak form, could easily have been capable of swinging either of the first 2 tests v the Saffas, to an Oz victory. Probability is though, he would not of played all 3 Tests.

Posted by Moppa on (December 10, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

Good to see the Rhino prioritising Test duty over BBL. My first-choice Aust pace attack is probably Pattinson, Harris and Siddle - pity only one of them is fit!!!

Posted by landl47 on (December 10, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

Just what Australia needs for the Ashes, a 33-year old fast bowler who hasn't managed to play a complete series in over 2 1/2 years. Seriously, he's a decent enough bowler when he's fit (which isn't often), but is that really the direction Aus wants to go?

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Daniel BrettigClose
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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