Rusty Harmison desperate to play
Yorkshire 350 for 9 dec (Root 222*) drew with Hampshire 39 for 0
Steve Harmison's initial appearance as an honorary Yorkshireman is not one he will particularly relish. Endless coach journeys, endless rain and, when he did finally have a bowl well into the third day of this weather-ruined fixture, inactivity and a lack of match practice were responsible for an opening over of wild misdirection. His first ball was a wide, as was his third and then his fourth. Another followed in his next over.
His five overs went for 25 runs and further rain on the final day ensured he would not bowl again. Harmison, with just six first-class wickets to his name this season, has begun a month's loan to Yorkshire unless he is recalled in the event of injuries or Test calls. He has been recommended by Durham's members for a benefit next year and, even if at 33 he is clearly not the fast bowler he was, still intends to play on for two or three more years. Preferably for Durham.
"I still want to play for Durham. I still have the burning desire to play cricket for my home county." In reference to joining Yorkshire on loan, he said: "I feel like I'm a proud man and an honest person so if I'm representing a side that has given me the chance to play, I'll do everything I possibly can. The most important thing is for Yorkshire to get back into the first division. If I can play any small part in that, I'll be delighted.
"I've not played cricket for two years properly and it's frightening how much I have missed it. I've probably got two to three years left in the game, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. The only thing I've ever been able to do is play cricket. It's one thing being frustrated not playing when you're injured like I have been over the last few years, but when I'm not playing cricket because of the weather or through not being picked, it's doubly frustrating."
The Yorkshire coaching hierarchy of Martyn Moxon and Jason Gillespie, an old foe of Harmison's during Ashes encounters, were not particularly influential in him joining Yorkshire. He had had enough of second XI cricket and inactivity during the t20 period and felt he had to play in the first-class game, not least because of better facilities."I would have gone anywhere. It was a case of who needed a bowler - and that county was Yorkshire owing to Ryan Sidebottom being injured. I have nothing against second team cricket but I have enjoyed every minute since I began practising with them at the start of the week."
Harmison's next appearance for Yorkshire will be against Derbyshire at Chesterfield next week. Pitches of old on that attractive ground had the trampoline bounce he desired, whereas too often this summer, one in which he has played just three Championship matches, they have been dampened and dulled by the rain. No-one wants to see his career peter out or for him to play on too long through not knowing what to do next, but there is clearly a possibility of both occurring. He has not been so in need of a few wickets since, well, he was about to open England's bowling at Gillespie and company in 2005.