Australia news January 15, 2013

'Take it out of our hands' - Harris

21

Man of the match in Barbados last year, Ryan Harris was the most furious man in the Caribbean when in Trinidad he became the first of three Australian pacemen to be omitted for preventative reasons over the past 12 months.

A few days later, the anger had cooled. Now, in the final stages of his recovery from shoulder surgery with the Ashes in mind, Harris admits that the current environment of insane schedules and diverse formats means players cannot be left to decide their own readiness: the instinctive desire to play as much as possible will invariably overrule common sense.

If the issue of rested cricketers regaining their places ahead of others who have performed in the interim sits heavily with Harris, he has agreed that for the moment there is unlikely to be a better way to preserve Australia's fast bowlers for the battles to be fought in India and England later in 2013. Like the national selector John Inverarity, Harris pointed that the lack of pre-season training is affecting the longevity of pacemen, who he stresses are otherwise as fit as they could possibly be.

"The scheduling is very difficult as it is, the amount of cricket we're playing, and guys have to rest," Harris told ESPNcricinfo. "What the bowlers are not getting is time to build up their strength, no pre-season. With the amount of bowling they do they don't have time for that. They do what we call priming sessions, light sessions. But they don't have enough time to get in and build up strength, because they're bowling and bowling and bowling, losing weight, losing strength. It's tough to get those sessions done, and that's why I think guys are falling over at times.

"With the rotation, we've got guys who can come in and do the job. If you rest the guys now, when we come to India and the Ashes when we really need our frontline bowlers, they pick the best four or five to go through those series and they do really well and they're rested and strong, that's when people are going to realise the system's warranted. If it means getting the Ashes back, people are going to understand."

Recalling the circumstances around his omission from the Trinidad Test XI, Harris demonstrated the range of factors that do not always make it into public view. Not only was Harris' speckled injury history a part of considerations, there was also the fact he had fought a stomach bug while notching a match-turning half-century and nipping out five wickets to help Australia prevail on a dead pitch at Kensington Oval.

"I had bowled a lot of overs, as we all did. I batted a bit as well and I actually was crook during that Test. So I barely ate anything and I'd lost four or five kilograms during that Test match, and was out there the majority of the time," Harris said. "We went to Trinidad and I was hurting, I was really sore and fatigued, and Mickey [Arthur] came to me and said 'how you feeling?'

I said to Mickey later 'I wasn't happy when you rested me but I understand now, because of the way I'm feeling'. If I'd gone into that Test match, I would've potentially done a lot of damage. In that situation it was out of my hands and needed to be.
Ryan Harris, on being left-out of the second Test in the West Indies

"I said 'I'm okay, in two or three days I should be okay and I'll be ready to go'. That's when he said 'we're thinking about resting you' and I said 'I'm not keen on that' because I'd missed a bit of cricket. It got to the day before and he came to me and he said 'we're going to rest you'. I wasn't that happy, but the fact is if I'd have played that Test I would've struggled.

"Even though I was thinking I could've bowled the first day, the later overs in the second, third, fourth or fifth day would've really tested me. So that was a decision where I sat back and said to Mickey later 'I wasn't happy when you rested me but I understand now, because of the way I'm feeling'. If I'd gone into that Test match, I would've potentially done a lot of damage. In that situation it was out of my hands and needed to be."

Having been through that episode, Harris understood Mitchell Starc's anger and confusion when he was left out of the Boxing Day Test, a long-standing ankle problem this week revealed to have been a factor. But he conceded that the alternative would be to let fast bowlers dictate their own readiness, which would likely lead to longer-term injuries as enthusiastic cricketers kept going until worn joints and limbs snapped completely.

"It was the same thing as me in the West Indies, where he was saying 'no I'm right to play', but he's been sore, and they've taken it out of his hands," Harris said. "That's the tough thing about it, you come up to a Boxing Day Test, a childhood dream to play for Australia let alone on Boxing Day so it is a big decision to leave him out. The players don't want to be rested, but it's got to be taken out of our hands, because if you could help it, you'd play every Test. There's just times when if they're going to do it, they've got all the data, so it has to be taken out of our hands."

As for the question of appropriate training and sufficient fitness, a popular topic for agitation by numerous former Australia fast bowlers during the current times of heavy injuries, Harris spoke compellingly of the standards maintained in 2013. "Our bowlers are that fit it's not funny," he said. "Pete Siddle and James Pattinson are unbelievably fit, Pat Cummins is fit. When I'm at my peak I'm fit. You can't knock guys for not being fit, and not bowling enough.

"Everyone keeps bringing up 'the boys are told to bowl only a certain amount of balls'. If I want to bowl 15 overs in a net session I will bowl them. If I want to bowl six balls, I'll bowl six balls. They give us a guide on what to bowl, but if I'm not feeling good or need to bowl more to get things right, I'll bowl as many as I want. It's not all about sports science running the game, it's individuals as well, individuals choosing what they do leading into games and into training."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zenboomerang on January 18, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    @fcmeety :- "Probably the same place you saw Gilchrest hit a ton for SOUTHERN DISTRICTS when he was ten"...

    Boy you are the king of porky pies... Never said 10 years old & hitting a ton, as if you would know anything about Gilly's stats - pity you haven't learnt not to shout in posts, but we all expect that from trolls...

  • zenboomerang on January 18, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    @fcmeety :- "No way will I ever put on an Internet website my personal dealings"...

    Sure... Not... Yet you also posted that you are "a director of "NUMEROUS" companies, both Private Ltds & Sports incorporated"...

    So if you are a real Aussie you would be proud to name those sports clubs?... Or is that just you gloating & bragging as usual?...

    Funny how you claim to run a cricket club, then deny it, then say that you are a director of a sports club - make up your mind, if you have one... Soapies have less twists than you do...

  • Meety on January 17, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    @Zenboomerang - on (January 17 2013, 10:51 AM GMT) well provide the link to my "FC" claims - that will be really amazing! Probably the same place you saw Gilchrest hit a ton for SOUTHERN DISTRICTS when he was ten. Anyways, you can't even keep your story straight from one article to another. On (April 16 2012, 14:39 PM GMT)- you said "...bowling injuries are at present at an all time low compared to over the last 10 years..." on an article on the 1st Day of 2nd Test v WIndies. You described a comment of mine on injuries where I said we had carnage in our bowling ranks as "...hysterics..." NOWHERE did you mention soft tissue injuries. Oh well it's hard being an Injury Denialist! LOL! What a web we weave! LOL!

  • zenboomerang on January 17, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @fcmeety... Ahh yes... You again fail to read or understand many posts - I wasn't taking about the number of serious injuries (which have been few) but the reasoning behind many of the soft injuries...

    Thats rich coming from you - you commented on having a FC record then on another that you run a cricket club - then on another you deny that - Porky Pies seem to be your favorite meal...

  • Meety on January 16, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (January 16 2013, 01:15 AM GMT) "....Commented a number of times recently on bowlers breaking down..." yes, just recently you also were supporting the contention that Australia had record lows in injury rates - sort of an injury-denialist!

  • Nerk on January 16, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    I think Harris should be the last person to judge the rotation system. He has always had injury problems well before the strain of international cricket had gotten to him. Ultimately, I think the selectors are missing the one crucial rule of bowling - all bowlers are different. Some bowlers have a less stressful action, other more stressful. Glen McGrath was one such bowler who could bowl day in day out without much chance of injury while some other bowlers of the period, like Gillespie and Fleming, were on and off the physio's bench all the time.

  • RogerWaite on January 16, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Great point about the lack of pre-season. We need to prioritise the international cricket played throughout the year and rest players during the low priority games. HIGH priority games should be ALL HOME GAMES of all formats (for the sake of our paying public who deserve to see the best on show) and OVERSEAS TESTS against the big name teams. Overseas ODI's and T20's and any overseas Tests against low placed teams are low priority games and these are the ones where players should be rested. Drop the rotation policy and only rest players during home season games for extenuating circumstances only.

  • Meety on January 16, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    @Shaggy076 on (January 15 2013, 11:16 AM GMT) - the Hilfy analogy is a good one. If Cric Oz (who pay lions share of our cricketers salaries), prevent our key Test bowling assets from playing in the T20 Leagues, we suddenly have windows for conditioning. I don't like rotation at Test level, but atm it's a neccessary evil I think!

  • Moppa on January 16, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    Interesting comments from Harris, and a nice example given by @Shaggy076 (Hilfenhaus). If Harris' theory is right (biggish IF), then the current rotation policy is completely ill-designed. Players should be rotated out of the game for 3 months plus (not a game here and there) to artificially create a pre-season. E.g. Ben Hilfenhaus/Jackson Bird, sorry, you're not going to do much for us in India, so we'll rest you then, see you in London in June. Pat Cummins/insert name here, you're not quite fit enough for the Ashes tour, but you're right in line for the Gabba in November... etc. (these are only examples). More broadly, agree with @vrn59, Harris is a champion and great to see him back - I heard he bowled on the weekend and is eyeing a Shield return in Feb.

  • zenboomerang on January 16, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    @Sussexx... FYI - Wades maiden Test century was in the WI - he now has 2 x 100's & 2 x 50's in his 9 Tests... Haddin has only 3 centuries in 43 Tests - his 1st in his 9th Test (& his highest score) against NZ at Adelaide Oval...

  • zenboomerang on January 18, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    @fcmeety :- "Probably the same place you saw Gilchrest hit a ton for SOUTHERN DISTRICTS when he was ten"...

    Boy you are the king of porky pies... Never said 10 years old & hitting a ton, as if you would know anything about Gilly's stats - pity you haven't learnt not to shout in posts, but we all expect that from trolls...

  • zenboomerang on January 18, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    @fcmeety :- "No way will I ever put on an Internet website my personal dealings"...

    Sure... Not... Yet you also posted that you are "a director of "NUMEROUS" companies, both Private Ltds & Sports incorporated"...

    So if you are a real Aussie you would be proud to name those sports clubs?... Or is that just you gloating & bragging as usual?...

    Funny how you claim to run a cricket club, then deny it, then say that you are a director of a sports club - make up your mind, if you have one... Soapies have less twists than you do...

  • Meety on January 17, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    @Zenboomerang - on (January 17 2013, 10:51 AM GMT) well provide the link to my "FC" claims - that will be really amazing! Probably the same place you saw Gilchrest hit a ton for SOUTHERN DISTRICTS when he was ten. Anyways, you can't even keep your story straight from one article to another. On (April 16 2012, 14:39 PM GMT)- you said "...bowling injuries are at present at an all time low compared to over the last 10 years..." on an article on the 1st Day of 2nd Test v WIndies. You described a comment of mine on injuries where I said we had carnage in our bowling ranks as "...hysterics..." NOWHERE did you mention soft tissue injuries. Oh well it's hard being an Injury Denialist! LOL! What a web we weave! LOL!

  • zenboomerang on January 17, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @fcmeety... Ahh yes... You again fail to read or understand many posts - I wasn't taking about the number of serious injuries (which have been few) but the reasoning behind many of the soft injuries...

    Thats rich coming from you - you commented on having a FC record then on another that you run a cricket club - then on another you deny that - Porky Pies seem to be your favorite meal...

  • Meety on January 16, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (January 16 2013, 01:15 AM GMT) "....Commented a number of times recently on bowlers breaking down..." yes, just recently you also were supporting the contention that Australia had record lows in injury rates - sort of an injury-denialist!

  • Nerk on January 16, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    I think Harris should be the last person to judge the rotation system. He has always had injury problems well before the strain of international cricket had gotten to him. Ultimately, I think the selectors are missing the one crucial rule of bowling - all bowlers are different. Some bowlers have a less stressful action, other more stressful. Glen McGrath was one such bowler who could bowl day in day out without much chance of injury while some other bowlers of the period, like Gillespie and Fleming, were on and off the physio's bench all the time.

  • RogerWaite on January 16, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Great point about the lack of pre-season. We need to prioritise the international cricket played throughout the year and rest players during the low priority games. HIGH priority games should be ALL HOME GAMES of all formats (for the sake of our paying public who deserve to see the best on show) and OVERSEAS TESTS against the big name teams. Overseas ODI's and T20's and any overseas Tests against low placed teams are low priority games and these are the ones where players should be rested. Drop the rotation policy and only rest players during home season games for extenuating circumstances only.

  • Meety on January 16, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    @Shaggy076 on (January 15 2013, 11:16 AM GMT) - the Hilfy analogy is a good one. If Cric Oz (who pay lions share of our cricketers salaries), prevent our key Test bowling assets from playing in the T20 Leagues, we suddenly have windows for conditioning. I don't like rotation at Test level, but atm it's a neccessary evil I think!

  • Moppa on January 16, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    Interesting comments from Harris, and a nice example given by @Shaggy076 (Hilfenhaus). If Harris' theory is right (biggish IF), then the current rotation policy is completely ill-designed. Players should be rotated out of the game for 3 months plus (not a game here and there) to artificially create a pre-season. E.g. Ben Hilfenhaus/Jackson Bird, sorry, you're not going to do much for us in India, so we'll rest you then, see you in London in June. Pat Cummins/insert name here, you're not quite fit enough for the Ashes tour, but you're right in line for the Gabba in November... etc. (these are only examples). More broadly, agree with @vrn59, Harris is a champion and great to see him back - I heard he bowled on the weekend and is eyeing a Shield return in Feb.

  • zenboomerang on January 16, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    @Sussexx... FYI - Wades maiden Test century was in the WI - he now has 2 x 100's & 2 x 50's in his 9 Tests... Haddin has only 3 centuries in 43 Tests - his 1st in his 9th Test (& his highest score) against NZ at Adelaide Oval...

  • zenboomerang on January 16, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    Commented a number of times recently on bowlers breaking down & Glenn McGraths reasonings for being prepared for Test series...

    Of particle issue is getting the core body strength to its maximum by running & gym work because over a Test series that core strength drops away slowly - Siddle is a much improved (physically) bowler due to his work with CFC (Carlton) with their conditioning staff & a vegetarian diet, plus not being involved with the ODI/T20 circus... Its also one reason why Watto has no endurance due to his short format bowling...

    If you get to listen to McGrath, then he can talk for over an hour on what is required to get up to Test fitness & its much more than just bowling in the nets or playing matches...

  • RaadQ on January 15, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Sports decisions are no longer in the hands of fast bowlers or the selectors, but rather the sport scientists who now control the proceedings. With the hectic schedule of the modern day, players should reduce training to compensate for their busy schedules, rather than have static training and reduce games. This is the simple solution, but modern day theoretical coaching relies on the sport scientists to make the decisions. JP Duminy's injury CLEARLY shows that training sessions should be reduce for players already getting enough game time. Ask all the great bowlers of the 80s and 90s, and they will tell you bowling in the game is much better than training and gyming.

  • Sussexx on January 15, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    taWell, that's all okay but !!!! The big question in my mind for all the Australian selectors particularly to heals..... that why you guys all are after Mathew ( Wade ) ...... ? Why are you all willing to ignore his talent ? As he scored a maiden test century against the sri lankans whereas it has been a long time. Since Brad score a test match century....... I tell you all what that Mathew should not be dropped especially in such a good form with the bat and I know why ACB is after Mathew because I think he is struggling with keeping but ! He will learn it as long as he stays in the team or rather soon..... wish you very good luck Mathew and the entire ACB . Oops ! To you as well Heals.... no offense but all honesty and care as a great cricketer and as well as a viewer..... Good on you Mates ! Thanks cricinfo.

  • heathrf1974 on January 15, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    Very good point by Harris. I'm all for rotating players to prevent injuries, but only if the occurrence of that injury is an almost certainty.

  • on January 15, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Too much cricket is never enough.

  • bobagorof on January 15, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    I'd like to know, though, whether it's just a case of six of one, a half dozen of the other? Harris may have been 'rested', but following that he's been out of action for 6-9 months so far. Starc missed a Test that he *could* have played, then broke down (minor calf injury) a couple of weeks later. If bowlers are still missing matches after being rested, would it really make much difference to have them play until they get injured? They're not able to have a pre-season build-up in the few days off they get, so according to Harris they're not remedying the root cause anyway. It just seems odd to me that we've being told that resting players will provide better outcomes, yet the rested players go down with injury regardless. Even Jason Gillespie is looking like Mr. Reliable compared with the current crop.

  • vrn59 on January 15, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Ryan Harris is a fantastic bowler, and he has the ability to bowl well on the subcontinent (refer Sri Lanka 2011). He would be a huge asset to the Australian Test side in India this year. My AUS XI: Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke (C), Watson, Haddin (wk), Harris, Lyon, Siddle, Pattinson / Beer (based on conditions).

    I'd slot Watson at 6 to avoid injury, and pick Haddin ahead of Wade because he's more experienced, and that will be needed in India. The top order looks a bit thin, but its a great chance for the young players to showcase their talents.

  • HowdyRowdy on January 15, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Informative comments by Ryan Harris.

    In the AFL, as well as the preseason providing the time for players to build their fitness base and improve strengh, it provides a vital window for many players to carry out a range of medical procedures to clean up rickety knees, shoulders, ankles, etc.

    I'm sure that the other football codes are similar.

    Perhaps we have to accept that any high intensity sporting discipline such as fast bowling requires an adequate down time, viA scheduling or rotation.

  • StaalBurgher on January 15, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Because every four year cycle they have an ICC trophy, ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup. At the very least the ICC Trophy needs to get dumped.

  • Chris_Howard on January 15, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Lack of pre-season is the light bulb moment. It'd be interesting to see how footballers survived without a pre-season. Why are we making our cricketers play all year round?

  • Shaggy076 on January 15, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    I think the key point here is lack of a pre-season, where the bowlers can forego bowling and build up there strength through weights. I've heard McGrath talk about how important this period was, bowlers of the past always had a window to do this work. The talk of Hilfenhaus recovery last season was he had a massive pre-season and built up his strenght, this year he was playing the champions trophy, IPL, West Indies and one-day tour of ENgland. This year no player is going to get any opportunity to do a pre-season if they play all 3 formats and I believe the bowlers for the Ashes need to forego the champions trophy to ready themselves. After finishing this season off, tour of india, IPL, champions trophy, back to back Ashes its going to be along year and come the end of the Ashes we may have used all of our bowlers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Shaggy076 on January 15, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    I think the key point here is lack of a pre-season, where the bowlers can forego bowling and build up there strength through weights. I've heard McGrath talk about how important this period was, bowlers of the past always had a window to do this work. The talk of Hilfenhaus recovery last season was he had a massive pre-season and built up his strenght, this year he was playing the champions trophy, IPL, West Indies and one-day tour of ENgland. This year no player is going to get any opportunity to do a pre-season if they play all 3 formats and I believe the bowlers for the Ashes need to forego the champions trophy to ready themselves. After finishing this season off, tour of india, IPL, champions trophy, back to back Ashes its going to be along year and come the end of the Ashes we may have used all of our bowlers.

  • Chris_Howard on January 15, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Lack of pre-season is the light bulb moment. It'd be interesting to see how footballers survived without a pre-season. Why are we making our cricketers play all year round?

  • StaalBurgher on January 15, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Because every four year cycle they have an ICC trophy, ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup. At the very least the ICC Trophy needs to get dumped.

  • HowdyRowdy on January 15, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Informative comments by Ryan Harris.

    In the AFL, as well as the preseason providing the time for players to build their fitness base and improve strengh, it provides a vital window for many players to carry out a range of medical procedures to clean up rickety knees, shoulders, ankles, etc.

    I'm sure that the other football codes are similar.

    Perhaps we have to accept that any high intensity sporting discipline such as fast bowling requires an adequate down time, viA scheduling or rotation.

  • vrn59 on January 15, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Ryan Harris is a fantastic bowler, and he has the ability to bowl well on the subcontinent (refer Sri Lanka 2011). He would be a huge asset to the Australian Test side in India this year. My AUS XI: Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke (C), Watson, Haddin (wk), Harris, Lyon, Siddle, Pattinson / Beer (based on conditions).

    I'd slot Watson at 6 to avoid injury, and pick Haddin ahead of Wade because he's more experienced, and that will be needed in India. The top order looks a bit thin, but its a great chance for the young players to showcase their talents.

  • bobagorof on January 15, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    I'd like to know, though, whether it's just a case of six of one, a half dozen of the other? Harris may have been 'rested', but following that he's been out of action for 6-9 months so far. Starc missed a Test that he *could* have played, then broke down (minor calf injury) a couple of weeks later. If bowlers are still missing matches after being rested, would it really make much difference to have them play until they get injured? They're not able to have a pre-season build-up in the few days off they get, so according to Harris they're not remedying the root cause anyway. It just seems odd to me that we've being told that resting players will provide better outcomes, yet the rested players go down with injury regardless. Even Jason Gillespie is looking like Mr. Reliable compared with the current crop.

  • on January 15, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Too much cricket is never enough.

  • heathrf1974 on January 15, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    Very good point by Harris. I'm all for rotating players to prevent injuries, but only if the occurrence of that injury is an almost certainty.

  • Sussexx on January 15, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    taWell, that's all okay but !!!! The big question in my mind for all the Australian selectors particularly to heals..... that why you guys all are after Mathew ( Wade ) ...... ? Why are you all willing to ignore his talent ? As he scored a maiden test century against the sri lankans whereas it has been a long time. Since Brad score a test match century....... I tell you all what that Mathew should not be dropped especially in such a good form with the bat and I know why ACB is after Mathew because I think he is struggling with keeping but ! He will learn it as long as he stays in the team or rather soon..... wish you very good luck Mathew and the entire ACB . Oops ! To you as well Heals.... no offense but all honesty and care as a great cricketer and as well as a viewer..... Good on you Mates ! Thanks cricinfo.

  • RaadQ on January 15, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Sports decisions are no longer in the hands of fast bowlers or the selectors, but rather the sport scientists who now control the proceedings. With the hectic schedule of the modern day, players should reduce training to compensate for their busy schedules, rather than have static training and reduce games. This is the simple solution, but modern day theoretical coaching relies on the sport scientists to make the decisions. JP Duminy's injury CLEARLY shows that training sessions should be reduce for players already getting enough game time. Ask all the great bowlers of the 80s and 90s, and they will tell you bowling in the game is much better than training and gyming.