England news October 6, 2013

Up in Kingston, down in Brisbane

ESPNcricinfo staff
ESPNcricinfo charts the highs and lows of Steve Harmison's 17-year career
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September 12, 1996: Steve Harmison makes his first-class debut against Leicestershire, going wicketless and scoring 10 runs in an innings defeat.

September 2000: Aged 22, selected in the England A squad for the tour of West Indies but has to be replaced after sustaining a shin injury.

August 8, 2002: Makes his Test debut for England in a drawn match against India at Trent Bridge. Picks up five wickets during the game, including that of Sourav Ganguly on 99.

December 17, 2002: Harmison plays his first ODI, dismissing Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu in quick succession to help England beat Sri Lanka by 43 runs in the VB Series in Brisbane.

October 21, 2003: Takes his first five-wicket haul for England in the first Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka. He is named Man of the Match after finishing with 9 for 79.

March 11, 2004: A notoriously poor traveller, Harmison's fitness and commitment for the tour of the Caribbean were questioned after breaking down in Bangladesh. However, he removes any doubts by blowing West Indies away runs in the second innings of the first Test, picking up seven wickets for just 12 runs. England captain Michael Vaughan calls it "one of the greatest spells of bowling by an England player". He follows it up with six wickets in the first innings of the second Test, and ends the series as the highest wicket-taker with 23 scalps from four matches.

August 2004: Harmison continues his fine form, taking eight wickets against New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's and, following another impressive showing against West Indies, he moves to the top of the Test bowling rankings, leapfrogging Muttiah Muralitharan and Shaun Pollock to become the first English bowler in two decades to hold the No. 1 position.

April 2005: Following a poor series against South Africa where he took just nine wickets, Harmison drops to eighth in the world Test bowling rankings. More eyebrows are raised when Harmison admits that he may end his career early due to homesickness, saying "I will never overcome it because I never really want to be away."

June 19, 2005: Despite recent struggles, Harmison shows his class in the third ODI against Australia, dismissing Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn in a single over, before also sending back Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey to finish with an ODI-best 5 for 33 and seal a three-wicket win for England.

July 21-24, 2005: Harmison makes his mark on Australia's batsmen early in the Ashes, striking Justin Langer with a painful blow on the elbow and bloodying Ponting with a rising delivery on to his helmet. Harmison takes eight wickets in the first Test at Lord's, but can't prevent a 239-run defeat for England.

September 12, 2005: England regain the Ashes for the first time in 16 years, as a thrilling series comes to a close with a draw at The Oval. Harmison has a vital part to play in the team's success, picking up 17 wickets from five matches at an average of 32.29.

July-August 2006: Injury rules him out of the first part of the following summer but Harmison shines in the home series against Pakistan with 20 wickets, including 11 in the second Test in Manchester. The series would ultimately be overshadowed by a ball-tampering row in the fourth Test.

November 23, 2006: However, Harmison's nerve betrays him during the 2006-07 Ashes, as he sends the opening delivery of the series in Brisbane straight to Andrew Flintoff at second slip. It sets the tone for what proves to be a dismal outing for Harmison, who picks up 10 wickets at 61.40, and for England, who are whitewashed by the hosts.

December 2006: Having been left out of England's squad for the post-Ashes ODI series, Harmison announces his retirement from the format, three months before the start of the World Cup.

May-June 2007: Harmison notches 16 wickets from four matches during the home series against West Indies, including six in the third Test in Manchester, but he suffers a setback with a back injury that keeps him out of action for four months.

March 2008: After returning to the England squad for Sri Lanka, where he bowls well on unresponsive pitches, he picks up just one wicket in the first New Zealand Test, a 189-run thrashing in Hamilton. He and Matthew Hoggard are subsequently axed from the team.

August 22, 2008: Harmison is persuaded back to ODI cricket by England's new captain, Kevin Pietersen, after nearly two years in self-imposed exile. He makes his return against South Africa in Leeds, taking two wickets.

September 27, 2008: Harmison takes the final three Kent wickets to fall as Durham wrap up their maiden Championship title - 16 years after they became a first-class county - at Canterbury.

April 3, 2009: Having never quite reached the heights of his Test exploits, he plays his last ODI against West Indies in St Lucia, finishing without a wicket.

August 20, 2009: Despite doubts remaining over his fitness, Harmison is involved in two Tests of the 2009 Ashes and plays what would turn out to be his final match at The Oval. Harmison takes three tail-end wickets in the second innings to help England secure a 197-run win and regain the urn once again.

September 12, 2009: Again Harmison takes the final wicket - and again he finishes as the club's leading wicket-taker - as Durham defend their Championship title with victory over Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street.

January, 2012: During a BBC radio documentary presented by his former team-mate Flintoff, Harmison reveals he had suffered from depression during his international career.

October 6, 2013: Harmison announces his retirement from competitive cricket, aged 34.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 7, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Let's remember Harmy at his best, with pace, bounce and swing that made him a serious handful for the best batsmen when everything was clicking. And -- as with Devon Malcolm for instance -- let's not dwell too much on the inconsistencies. Also Harmison could be an entertaining tail-ender; when the long levers were working to their fullest, he could add a few extra runs really, really quickly.

  • CricketingStargazer on October 8, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    What is not mentioned in the comment on the 2009 Oval Test is the fact that Australia were chasing a huge target (546) and, at 327-5, the message boards were full of speculation that England were going to go down to a record-breaking defeat. Graeme Swann made the breakthrough taking Haddin, before Steve Harmison made sure that there would be no fightback with 3 wickets for 7, including two in two balls and 3 in 13, with Hussey stranded at the other end.

    Blood up, he made sure that the breakthrough was exploited with really hostile bowling on a pitch that was as flat as a pancake. It summed him up: like Ian Botham, when the biorhythms were right, he could be fearsome on any pitch, including the rolled mud of Bangladesh.

  • CricketingStargazer on October 8, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Steve Harmison being dropped from the ODI team was somewhat bizarre because he was, at the time, by a considerable distance the highest-ranked bowler for England in the ODI rankings He always needed a bit a sensitive handling, which he did not always get.

    I recall after that Bangladesh series that there was considerable speculation that he would not play for England again. As the Caribbean series turned out, that would have been tragic.

    A couple of other notes from his career: he started the 2002/03 Ashes with 8 wides in one over in a tour game but ended up in the Test side in an injury crisis and he and Caddick were close to engineering a remarkable win in the 4th Test, defending around 100. It was remarkable to listen to that Australian chase on TMS. Also, his breakthrough really came in the 5th Test v South Africa in 2003 when England had to dismiss South Africa cheaply to win and Harmison took 4 wickets for very little to help set up the win.

  • Kemcho on October 8, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    The only notable achievement in his career was a 7 wicket hall against a very weak West Indies Team. A highly over rated bowler indeed.

  • on October 7, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Let's remember Harmy at his best, with pace, bounce and swing that made him a serious handful for the best batsmen when everything was clicking. And -- as with Devon Malcolm for instance -- let's not dwell too much on the inconsistencies. Also Harmison could be an entertaining tail-ender; when the long levers were working to their fullest, he could add a few extra runs really, really quickly.

  • CricketingStargazer on October 8, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    What is not mentioned in the comment on the 2009 Oval Test is the fact that Australia were chasing a huge target (546) and, at 327-5, the message boards were full of speculation that England were going to go down to a record-breaking defeat. Graeme Swann made the breakthrough taking Haddin, before Steve Harmison made sure that there would be no fightback with 3 wickets for 7, including two in two balls and 3 in 13, with Hussey stranded at the other end.

    Blood up, he made sure that the breakthrough was exploited with really hostile bowling on a pitch that was as flat as a pancake. It summed him up: like Ian Botham, when the biorhythms were right, he could be fearsome on any pitch, including the rolled mud of Bangladesh.

  • CricketingStargazer on October 8, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Steve Harmison being dropped from the ODI team was somewhat bizarre because he was, at the time, by a considerable distance the highest-ranked bowler for England in the ODI rankings He always needed a bit a sensitive handling, which he did not always get.

    I recall after that Bangladesh series that there was considerable speculation that he would not play for England again. As the Caribbean series turned out, that would have been tragic.

    A couple of other notes from his career: he started the 2002/03 Ashes with 8 wides in one over in a tour game but ended up in the Test side in an injury crisis and he and Caddick were close to engineering a remarkable win in the 4th Test, defending around 100. It was remarkable to listen to that Australian chase on TMS. Also, his breakthrough really came in the 5th Test v South Africa in 2003 when England had to dismiss South Africa cheaply to win and Harmison took 4 wickets for very little to help set up the win.

  • Kemcho on October 8, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    The only notable achievement in his career was a 7 wicket hall against a very weak West Indies Team. A highly over rated bowler indeed.

  • Kemcho on October 8, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    The only notable achievement in his career was a 7 wicket hall against a very weak West Indies Team. A highly over rated bowler indeed.

  • CricketingStargazer on October 8, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Steve Harmison being dropped from the ODI team was somewhat bizarre because he was, at the time, by a considerable distance the highest-ranked bowler for England in the ODI rankings He always needed a bit a sensitive handling, which he did not always get.

    I recall after that Bangladesh series that there was considerable speculation that he would not play for England again. As the Caribbean series turned out, that would have been tragic.

    A couple of other notes from his career: he started the 2002/03 Ashes with 8 wides in one over in a tour game but ended up in the Test side in an injury crisis and he and Caddick were close to engineering a remarkable win in the 4th Test, defending around 100. It was remarkable to listen to that Australian chase on TMS. Also, his breakthrough really came in the 5th Test v South Africa in 2003 when England had to dismiss South Africa cheaply to win and Harmison took 4 wickets for very little to help set up the win.

  • CricketingStargazer on October 8, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    What is not mentioned in the comment on the 2009 Oval Test is the fact that Australia were chasing a huge target (546) and, at 327-5, the message boards were full of speculation that England were going to go down to a record-breaking defeat. Graeme Swann made the breakthrough taking Haddin, before Steve Harmison made sure that there would be no fightback with 3 wickets for 7, including two in two balls and 3 in 13, with Hussey stranded at the other end.

    Blood up, he made sure that the breakthrough was exploited with really hostile bowling on a pitch that was as flat as a pancake. It summed him up: like Ian Botham, when the biorhythms were right, he could be fearsome on any pitch, including the rolled mud of Bangladesh.

  • on October 7, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Let's remember Harmy at his best, with pace, bounce and swing that made him a serious handful for the best batsmen when everything was clicking. And -- as with Devon Malcolm for instance -- let's not dwell too much on the inconsistencies. Also Harmison could be an entertaining tail-ender; when the long levers were working to their fullest, he could add a few extra runs really, really quickly.