Spat between Boycott and Harmison March 23, 2008

Harmison hits out at Boycott

Cricinfo staff

'You get the feeling that Boycott is an insecure man who needs to be heard,' says Harmison of Boycott © Getty Images
Steve Harmison, the England fast bowler, has struck back at Geoff Boycott after the former opening batsman had launched a scathing attack at him in a column for Daily Telegraph.

Boycott had virtually written off Harmison after his poor display in the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, urging the selectors not to give him a central contract. "Since the Ashes series of 2005 he has been poor, indifferent to bad. He's not got enough wickets and been given so many chances," Boycott wrote in his column. "There comes a point when the public and selectors get fed up and disillusioned with a guy not delivering. That time has come. If he gets a central contract this summer over some of the new kids, or any sort of central contract, then a lot of us will be screaming: favouritism and a total waste of money. England should forget him."

Harmison's reply was equally cutting. In his column for Mail on Sunday, Harmison wrote: "No one can dispute the man could bat but over the years he has developed an equally well deserved reputation as someone who thrives on kicking a man when he is down ... Enough is enough. His remarks about me this week have gone beyond what is acceptable and it is time someone stood up to him and told him so.

"People who only have a passing interest in the game hear the famous Geoff Boycott Yorkshire accent and may think it gives some status to his opinions. But inside the dressing room he has no status, he is just an accent, some sort of caricature of a professional Yorkshireman."

Harmison went on to add that a couple of batsmen currently in the England team didn't have a high opinion of Boycott either. "Their shared experience was that when things weren't going well for them all they heard from Boycott was him nailing them in the newspapers or on radio or TV, then, if they made a century or played well, he would come up to them full of compliments and try to ingratiate himself with them. I'm not the only England player who has been forced to take it in the neck from Boycott and I won't be the last."

Harmison also took a dig at Boycott for his comments on Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait's decision to take a break from the game due to exhaustion. Boycott had said Tait's decision had "lacked character".

"I wonder what Australia's Shaun Tait thought recently, when, after announcing he was taking an indefinite break from the game due to physical and emotional exhaustion, Boycott reacted by claiming he should have shown more desire to work through his problems," Harmison wrote. "You get the feeling that Boycott is an insecure man who needs to be heard."

As a parting shot, Harmison had this to say to Boycott: "You say that if England give me another central contract come October that would be waste of money. To me, you are a waste of space."