Hampshire v Yorkshire, West End, 4th day July 14, 2012

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • paul on July 15, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Unfortunately it looks like the end of the road for Harmison. He has been a great servant to Durham but I just cant see him being offered a new contract by the county once the current one ends next year. Durham are about to enter a new era with probably a more youthful team. The mighty and talismanic Michael Di Venuto is the first of what could be a cricketing revolution in the North East. Its a new dawn for Durham CCC.

  • Andrew on July 15, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    Have to say, in the past, I've not had much sympathy for Harmison. However, the quotes in this article suggest a bloke (Harmison) aware of his mortality (career). I do sympathise with him. I think Yorkshire would of been better begging for Starc to stay on (Oz too), but when a bloke says "...The only thing I've ever been able to do is play cricket." - I have to say, I instantly cast aside all other perceptions - try & imagine that scenario from a personal aspect. Hope he charts the good course from here.

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Hamrm i'm sorry but you're done lad

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    Old? He's 33! He's a few weeks older than me.

  • Andrew on July 14, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    As is so often the case with old sportsmen, it's all rather sad.

  • Michael on July 14, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    Harmison starts an eagerly awaited opening spell for a team by bowling a wide; why does that sound so familiar to me? Seriously, I've plenty of time for Harmison; he seems to me to be just an otherwise ordinary bloke who happens to be so blessed with an extraordinary talent and potential that he doesn't quite know how to handle it. For whomever he plays in future, I hope he still has one or two more great spells of fast bowling in him.

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