Australia news March 12, 2014

Pakistan Tests 'a realistic goal' - Harris

49

Reports of the death knell sounding on Ryan Harris' career have been greatly exaggerated. So says Harris, anyway. As he was bowling Australia to a series win late on day five in Cape Town, it was hard for outsiders to know what his international future would hold. At 34, he was due for surgery on a chronic knee problem when he returned to Australia. Would he ever wear the baggy green again?

Not only does Harris believe he has plenty of international cricket ahead of him, he believes it is possible he will not even miss a Test. Australia do not play Test cricket again until an away series against Pakistan around October, giving Harris half a year to work his way back to full fitness. Having had his operation, Harris was on crutches in Melbourne on Wednesday but said he felt fantastic.

"It's nowhere near my career over," Harris said. "I did this to prolong it more than anything. My knee is damaged - probably a little bit more damaged than the last time they went in a few years ago. But it's still a good knee. After what I've put up with in the last few weeks, I can probably put up with just about anything now. I'm already looking forward to hopefully getting back for the Pakistan tour. That's my goal, and a very realistic goal.

"It's feeling better today and yesterday than it felt before I went in. It's good relief. A couple of days after the last win and when I got home it was actually quite painful. It's been cleaned out, which is what I've been waiting for for a while. There was a fair bit in there. I saw a couple of pictures of quite big pieces of cartilage. They were a lot bigger than what I thought they were going to be."

At times in South Africa, Harris was visibly troubled by the injury and it caused him significant trouble on the flight home, when the knee locked up and would not return to normal. That led to a long, painful journey, but discomfort is nothing new to Harris. He is resigned to the likelihood that he will need a knee replacement when his playing days are over, but for now wants his surgeon David Young to do whatever it takes to extend his playing career.

"I've already told the surgeon just keep me on the park for another two or three years and we'll worry about that later," Harris said. "I'll give him his money later, it's already guaranteed. I probably am [going to need a replacement] at some stage. But again I just want to do whatever I can now to keep playing in this team and enjoying the success that we've been working so hard to get to."

Harris finished the South African tour as the No. 2 bowler in the world, according to the ICC rankings, and although it seemed impossible for him to gain any more respect, his late-afternoon efforts to finish off the South African tail in Cape Town proved otherwise. Remarkably for a man who has been in and out of the Test side with injuries since his 2010 debut, Harris has now played 12 consecutive Tests.

It was almost not the case, though. Harris said after the WACA Test in which Australia secured the Ashes, he had spoken with Young about the best plan for managing his knee, and whether to have the required surgery immediately or hope it held out until after the South African series.

"He was probably more the one that said to wait," Harris said. "He wanted to see me play out here in a Boxing Day Test and finish the series, and then South Africa. He along with [team doctor] Peter Brukner and [physio] Alex Kountouris have been amazing throughout this whole thing. They've kept me going and to have those series wins under our belt as a team is fantastic."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 13, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    Let them come to the UAE. I am sooo eagerly awaiting this. Pakistanis will find it tough against the pace but with slow and spinning wickets to be prepared, I actually see this series going in Pakistan's favor. Aussies are pretty average players of spin, to be honest they're worse than England when it comes to playing spin. They were whitewashed by a decent Indian spin attack, and the Pakistani spin bowling is on another level. This australian team's so-called comeback will be severely tested in the UAE. I fancy Pakistanis winning!!!

  • siddhartha87 on March 13, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Should be a good series if Pakistan bats well

  • on March 13, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    @ Jourdy Wongtrakun Where was M Johnson in India ? I didn't remember him performing well over there.

    Of course its a home series for Pakistan and the pitches will suit Pakistani spin attack.

  • Practical_person on March 13, 2014, 2:43 GMT

    I feel Australia is going to find it difficult to beat Pakistan in UAE unless they play spin well. In cricket you never know how momentum can things. Australia under Ponting has beaten SL in SL in the past and could do it again under Clarke. Clarke should lead from the front as he plays spin well.

  • on March 12, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    Australia will win coz PK batting dont stand a chance against aussies bowling.

  • RandyOZ on March 12, 2014, 22:57 GMT

    World's second best bowler behind Johnson

  • ICKY on March 12, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Pakistan has only to play to its potential without dropping easy sitters like they did in Sydney test and semi final in 2011 wc against India. Pakistan will easily win 2-0.

  • UsmanMuhammad on March 12, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    @cricketsubh, really!!!! have to admire last Australian side that had beaten Pak in UAE included greats in bowling attack. Johnson is nowhere to that league. He will be shown brutal reality in UAE. Harris will cause issues, for sure.

    I agree Aussies are favourites only if they play Ajmal and Rehman well. Ajmal is going to make Aussie's batsman dance on the wicket.

  • jimmyvida on March 12, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    Depends on the type of wickets prepared. If they are going to be a spinners paradise. Pakistan will win. If the wickets are going to have even medium life, then, of course Australia will win. UAE is Pakistan's home grounds. Pitches will be suitable to their game.

  • cricketsubh on March 12, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    aus will win the series in uae harris goes or not they got gud record in uae last time they beat pak 3-0 in uae

  • on March 13, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    Let them come to the UAE. I am sooo eagerly awaiting this. Pakistanis will find it tough against the pace but with slow and spinning wickets to be prepared, I actually see this series going in Pakistan's favor. Aussies are pretty average players of spin, to be honest they're worse than England when it comes to playing spin. They were whitewashed by a decent Indian spin attack, and the Pakistani spin bowling is on another level. This australian team's so-called comeback will be severely tested in the UAE. I fancy Pakistanis winning!!!

  • siddhartha87 on March 13, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Should be a good series if Pakistan bats well

  • on March 13, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    @ Jourdy Wongtrakun Where was M Johnson in India ? I didn't remember him performing well over there.

    Of course its a home series for Pakistan and the pitches will suit Pakistani spin attack.

  • Practical_person on March 13, 2014, 2:43 GMT

    I feel Australia is going to find it difficult to beat Pakistan in UAE unless they play spin well. In cricket you never know how momentum can things. Australia under Ponting has beaten SL in SL in the past and could do it again under Clarke. Clarke should lead from the front as he plays spin well.

  • on March 12, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    Australia will win coz PK batting dont stand a chance against aussies bowling.

  • RandyOZ on March 12, 2014, 22:57 GMT

    World's second best bowler behind Johnson

  • ICKY on March 12, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Pakistan has only to play to its potential without dropping easy sitters like they did in Sydney test and semi final in 2011 wc against India. Pakistan will easily win 2-0.

  • UsmanMuhammad on March 12, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    @cricketsubh, really!!!! have to admire last Australian side that had beaten Pak in UAE included greats in bowling attack. Johnson is nowhere to that league. He will be shown brutal reality in UAE. Harris will cause issues, for sure.

    I agree Aussies are favourites only if they play Ajmal and Rehman well. Ajmal is going to make Aussie's batsman dance on the wicket.

  • jimmyvida on March 12, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    Depends on the type of wickets prepared. If they are going to be a spinners paradise. Pakistan will win. If the wickets are going to have even medium life, then, of course Australia will win. UAE is Pakistan's home grounds. Pitches will be suitable to their game.

  • cricketsubh on March 12, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    aus will win the series in uae harris goes or not they got gud record in uae last time they beat pak 3-0 in uae

  • immi2711 on March 12, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    As much as I want to see a good game...lets be honest, AUS is on a different level than PAK, there is not comparison...not even close...They play like professional athletes...and play to win...there is a sense of pride when they step on the fiedl... Although a PAK supporter, it is going to be a clean sweep. Aussies can win with there second line attackers...

  • sergio11 on March 12, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    @Jourdy Wongtrakun...mate there is lot of differnce b/w a Adelaide and a Subcontint pitch..in subcontint the main problem is, after the ball pitches the amount of retardation is very high when compared to AUS pitches..add to that the lack of bounce..but if you can check the records..Johnson is the highest wicket taker in indian for an overseas bowler in odi..44 wickets in just 25 matches..he done well in pitches in Ind,so does Brett Lee,the common b/w these 2 bowler is raw pace...bt the UAE pitches are even slower than Indian pitches..so nothing can be said now..

  • YogifromNY on March 12, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    Praying for a fast and total recovery for you, Ryan. Hope to see you play for Australia for some years to come and with great success. It is awesome to see you bowl, and even more inspiring to know what pain you have had to deal with to bowl so far. Respect - from an Indian team supporter.

  • on March 12, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Couldn't have a better surgeon! David repaired my knee and has been better than ever best of luck!

  • on March 12, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    @UsmanMuhammad There's only one accurate response to your claim that Johnson will fail on flat wickets. 2nd Ashes Test in Adelaide, England 1st innings: All out 172. Mitchell Johnson: 7-40.

  • PakCricZindabad on March 12, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Pak vs. Aus tests begin in October. Even though i'am a Pakistan fan, I would love Australia to select there best squad & come into the series will all there momentum so Pakistan can be challenged. Hopefully Australia doesn't only bring 1 spinner & rely so much on there fast bowlers, because UAE are flat & the fast bowlers might not do so well from both teams. Will like Pak to have Ajmal, Rehman, & Baber. Aus I hope bring Fawad Ahmed along, along w/ Lyon & a successful domestic spinner as well. Will be a tough & interesting series.

  • cornered_again on March 12, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    Come to the desert , we will bring you guys down and back to the earth...Looking forward to that series....

  • TomPow on March 12, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    I love watching Ryano bowl, and hopefully he'll be around for years to come. I mean look at Bert Ironmonger. He debuted at 45!

  • UsmanMuhammad on March 12, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Good luck to you Harris for a perfect rehab from a Pakistan fan. Although I would like to see pitches more conducive to fast bowling but knowing Misbah (Pak captain) that will be last thing in world. I guess you will be desperately needed by Aussies in UAE on flat pitches as you possess the skills to get something out from lifeless tracks.

    Johnson is going to fail and struggle big time in UAE, he is no more than a fear factor on bowling friendly pitches and does not have skills for flat tracks

  • line.and.length on March 12, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    Come on sir Harris, we need you to come back and seam it around and get them nickin..... all the best to you

  • on March 12, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    BTW when are Pakistan tests?

  • brusselslion on March 12, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    Harris is definitely a cricketer to admire and warm to, and I'd love to see him bowling in the next Ashes series even though his absence would give England a better chance. However, I echo @ShutTheGate's comments, and hope that he will not do himself any long term damage by returning to the Test arena.

  • Green_and_Gold on March 12, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    @Musab Shakeel Mallick - Agree with your comments on testing the bowlers on flat pitches. MJ should be fine as he offers pure pace. That is the whole point of a test match being played away - how will these guys go in different conditions. Disagree about your comments on T20 - batsman will win most battles regardless plus its such a short game that it dosent give the quicks a chance to set batsman up as they can in test cricket.

  • pat_one_back on March 12, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    @Musab, pay attention, Harris just bowled Aust to victory on a deader than dead track, Steyn did likewise for SA the previous test, it's all about how batsmen play spin that makes the difference.

  • Coolcapricorn on March 12, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    A true gutsy warrior! Best wishes & hope to see him back performing for Australia soon - from an Indian fan.

  • RVC-38 on March 12, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    @ Musab Shakeel Mallick on (March 12, 2014, 8:07 GMT) OK, we will see.

  • BradmanBestEver on March 12, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    The second best fast bowler in the world today... just behind the MJ train

  • golflink on March 12, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    too good for our lot---hope he gets fit again, can't wait to see him in action again. definitely one of the best and I wonder how well MJ does without Ryan Harris at the other end?

  • PrasPunter on March 12, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    Respect, Health and peace !! God bless Ryano !!

  • on March 12, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Ryan's Capabilities will be tested in UAE against Pakistan...lets see how these so called fast track bullies like Steyn,Johnson, Harris, Morkel and others can do in slow and dead wickets..A bowler's capability is only tested in worst bowling conditions..otherwise, in fast and swing pitches, indian and Bangladeshi bowlers also manage to take wickets..lets see how these "Legends" will perform in coming t/20 WC with dead pitches and batting paradise wickets! :P

  • CrapySaysThat on March 12, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    Ryan Harris you Beauty... what a brave cricketer he is .. .always leading from the front. Inspiring many youngsters. Really wish him fully fit as Pak is too strong with reverse swing. Go Aussie Go...!!!

  • Biggus on March 12, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    @dunger.bob:- Getting all "Six Million Dollar Man" on us there mate. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology"..............maybe they already walk among us.........

  • on March 12, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Modern day war hero.

  • on March 12, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    Best of luck. A spirited fast bowler. Looking forward to see you in action against Pakistan.

  • on March 12, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    he will be hopefully better by then. still plenty of time left for that series.

  • on March 12, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    Awesome stuff from the big fella and you just know that with the commitment he has that he'll be there!

  • xtrafalgarx on March 12, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    What a tough bugger, legend.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 12, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    If only the Pakistan tests were in Pakistan!

  • prady5688 on March 12, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    When u make yourself more than just like a man, when u devote yourself to an ideal. you will become something else entirely A LEGEND RYANO! A LEGEND RYANO!

  • Biggus on March 12, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Is it worth him playing on the dead surfaces in the UAE given his injury concerns? We know he's willing, and we'd expect nothing less from Rhino, he's a man's man, the sort of bloke other men look up to, but as we all know he's a limited resource and his career could finish at any time. But slaving away on those pitches? I don't know, if he doesn't go the subcontinental naysayers will say he was afraid to, and if he does that could be the end of a player I consider to be a bit of a national treasure, the distilled essence of many of the qualities that we feel show the best of the Australian character. Who would believe that a player who hasn't even played 30 tests could make me feel like that? His total dedication, toughness and overall decency as a human being remind me of Mike Hussey. I don't envy many people in this life, but I sure could handle being a bit more like those two. Alas I'm just an average guy.............

  • ShutTheGate on March 12, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    I hope he comes back but I also hope the guy can walk when he's 50. Hopefully he's not doing long term irreversible damage.

  • on March 12, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    good luck ryan harris! You are a magnificent fast bowler and I hope to see you in action for a longer time.

  • dunger.bob on March 12, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    This sort of injury would have been career ending 30 years ago. These days it's almost day-surgery. One thing that hasn't changed is good old fashioned pain though and I'm sure the Rhino was feeling plenty of that.

    You know, this got me thinking about a possible ethical dilemma that sport could face in another 30 years or so. Harris said he will probably need a knee replacement sometime down the track. That means an artificial knee made out of titanium or some such. At the moment they simply aren't as good as the real thing but one day they might be even better. If that ever happens we could see athletes opting for artificial joints while still playing. .. the dilemma is: do we allow cyborgs to play sport and push human performance beyond what can be achieved with a fully natural, non-augmented body? .. interesting question. Well at least I think it is.

  • Jagger on March 12, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Ryan Harris has been the one cricketer above all others whose time on the field is compulsory viewing, ever since his debut in 2010. At times it has been rough to watch him battle with the pain and injuries. For the rest of the time though, it has been a joy to watch a champion sportsman do the things the rest of us can only dream of doing. Only an injustice of the cruelest kind would see him not opening the bowling in the ODI World Cup. Personally, I can't wait to see him in the coloured clothing once again. Raising a glass to the future of the big fella - deserves every success he gets and then some.

  • punterdgr8 on March 12, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    absolutely right @sabiha Barbie

  • yuvi_gladiator on March 12, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    there is no better feeling than winning and harris has got the taste of it now. he is such a great bowler with a big heart and it shows when he is on the field.... keeping my fingers crossed as me is a big fan of his :)

  • RVC-38 on March 12, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Good luck Harro, out of all the injury plagued Australian bowlers he is the one with enough intestinal fortitude to play with pain. no pain no gain.

  • on March 12, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    This is what we called a commitment to play for the country

  • siddhartha87 on March 12, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    All the best to Ryano. Hopefully you'll be there for atleast another 2 years

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • siddhartha87 on March 12, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    All the best to Ryano. Hopefully you'll be there for atleast another 2 years

  • on March 12, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    This is what we called a commitment to play for the country

  • RVC-38 on March 12, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Good luck Harro, out of all the injury plagued Australian bowlers he is the one with enough intestinal fortitude to play with pain. no pain no gain.

  • yuvi_gladiator on March 12, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    there is no better feeling than winning and harris has got the taste of it now. he is such a great bowler with a big heart and it shows when he is on the field.... keeping my fingers crossed as me is a big fan of his :)

  • punterdgr8 on March 12, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    absolutely right @sabiha Barbie

  • Jagger on March 12, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Ryan Harris has been the one cricketer above all others whose time on the field is compulsory viewing, ever since his debut in 2010. At times it has been rough to watch him battle with the pain and injuries. For the rest of the time though, it has been a joy to watch a champion sportsman do the things the rest of us can only dream of doing. Only an injustice of the cruelest kind would see him not opening the bowling in the ODI World Cup. Personally, I can't wait to see him in the coloured clothing once again. Raising a glass to the future of the big fella - deserves every success he gets and then some.

  • dunger.bob on March 12, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    This sort of injury would have been career ending 30 years ago. These days it's almost day-surgery. One thing that hasn't changed is good old fashioned pain though and I'm sure the Rhino was feeling plenty of that.

    You know, this got me thinking about a possible ethical dilemma that sport could face in another 30 years or so. Harris said he will probably need a knee replacement sometime down the track. That means an artificial knee made out of titanium or some such. At the moment they simply aren't as good as the real thing but one day they might be even better. If that ever happens we could see athletes opting for artificial joints while still playing. .. the dilemma is: do we allow cyborgs to play sport and push human performance beyond what can be achieved with a fully natural, non-augmented body? .. interesting question. Well at least I think it is.

  • on March 12, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    good luck ryan harris! You are a magnificent fast bowler and I hope to see you in action for a longer time.

  • ShutTheGate on March 12, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    I hope he comes back but I also hope the guy can walk when he's 50. Hopefully he's not doing long term irreversible damage.

  • Biggus on March 12, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Is it worth him playing on the dead surfaces in the UAE given his injury concerns? We know he's willing, and we'd expect nothing less from Rhino, he's a man's man, the sort of bloke other men look up to, but as we all know he's a limited resource and his career could finish at any time. But slaving away on those pitches? I don't know, if he doesn't go the subcontinental naysayers will say he was afraid to, and if he does that could be the end of a player I consider to be a bit of a national treasure, the distilled essence of many of the qualities that we feel show the best of the Australian character. Who would believe that a player who hasn't even played 30 tests could make me feel like that? His total dedication, toughness and overall decency as a human being remind me of Mike Hussey. I don't envy many people in this life, but I sure could handle being a bit more like those two. Alas I'm just an average guy.............