England Lions v Australians, Worcester, 3rd day July 3, 2009

Harmison not expecting Cardiff call

Steve Harmison does not expect to be lining up in Cardiff on Wednesday despite heaping doubt on the opener Phillip Hughes and picking up six Australian wickets in Worcester. Harmison removed Hughes for the second time in the match with a lifting delivery at his body and also snuffed Ricky Ponting's hopes of a long warm-up when he was caught driving for 15.

However, he believes he won't fit into England's plans for the first Test and predicts the selectors will go with two spinners. "I've made it difficult for [Hughes], I made it difficult for everybody," he said after taking 2 for 36. "I made it difficult for the selectors, to pick me for Cardiff. I don't think they will pick me, it seems they are going to play two spinners. To pick me, I just don't fit in."

He is prepared to head back to Durham and keep pounding away in the hope of being recalled for the second match. "If I don't get in for Lord's I try to get in whenever they need me," he said. "They know I'm fit, they know I'm back and cause Australia problems. They know what I'm about, it's up to them if they want to pick me. If they don't pick me, they are winning the series."

England now start the Ashes having seen a serious flaw in the short-ball play of Hughes, the 20-year-old opener with three Tests' experience. Harmison worked Hughes out over the wicket on the opening day and on Friday forced him to glove to second slip in an ugly manner from around the wicket.

"I have put loads of doubt in him [Hughes], I imagine I've put doubt in a lot of the batsmen's minds," he said. "But it don't count for anything come next Wednesday.

"I imagine you'll see Phillip Hughes testing himself against the bowling machine, trying to put things right that haven't gone for him this game. He's not a mug, he's a good player. England have to not get carried away and bowl too many short balls at him. There's a difference between me bowling short balls and other people bowling short balls because the lengths do vary."

Harmison said the Australians were not as confident as in previous series and he believes England will be too strong over the next two months. "This side is good enough to win the Ashes," he said. "On paper what happened here doesn't count for anything, it's what happens in the next 30-odd days of Ashes cricket. Who really wants it the most and who can handle the pressure the most. That will be the side that wins the Ashes."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arshad on July 4, 2009, 18:53 GMT

    well, since i could not add my comment on the page reporting today's drawn match between AUS and ENG, i would like to just express my thoughts here.

    One felt really sorry for Hauritz going without much success in today's drawn match. So much was he in pressure that he misfield ed a simple one off the bowling of Brett Lee, on the boundary.

    If i were Ponting, i would just go up to him (maybe one-on-one over a drink) and tell him that he (nathan haurtiz) need not worry about the first test at Cardiff - that because i have full trust and confidence in his abilities as a spinner, he is a certain selection. I think if Ponting could do that, Hauritz would still make a huge difference at Cardiff.

  • Parthiban on July 4, 2009, 13:38 GMT

    Harvey - you couldn't have been nailed it spot on any more. But a small correction - he has had two good games of test match cricket since 2005. But even then in 2005, he did not shine after the Lord's test : he took 9 wickets for an average for 50. I exactly have the same opinion about him, but his language has been quite unharmison if you would like in the last couple of days. Very confident and assertive. At least he doesn't talk non sense as Ian Bell does time and again - completely devoid from reality. Harmison is a honest bloke - you got to him that. So his latest rhetoric is quite remarkable in that sense. We just need him to jolt the Aussies and then let him go if he is fading off. Whether you like it or not, he can hit some serious blows when he is song.

  • Harvey on July 4, 2009, 10:16 GMT

    Harmison has had about one good game for England since 2005, and even that was when he was trying to get a regular place back in the side to have a crack at the Stanford millions. I wonder whether those people suggesting that he be recalled for The Ashes have actually watched him playing for England since then? He always looks as if he doesn't want to be out there, and his performances consistently reflect that. What's more, his poor attitude seems to rub off on the rest of the squad. In my view, Mark Ramprakash has a far stronger claim for a place in the England squad than Harmison does, and I don't hear people clamouring for him to be selected every time he has a good game for his county!

  • Tom on July 4, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    England ought to pick Harmy as a fourth seamer. Pundits shouldn't expect too much; the Poms must let him loose without fear of failure. He could come off and win the game with 15 overs of hostile pace and bounce; and if he's not producing the goods, Strauss can turn to three consistent quicks, a good spinner and the more-than-handy seamers of Collingwood and Bopara. I think it's definitely worth taking a gamble on Harmy in game of this magnitude.

  • Swami on July 4, 2009, 6:43 GMT

    Harmison is one of those who should be selected selectively. He is not going to deliver on all pitches, but on pitches and conditions to his liking, he is deadly. To not select him in Cardiff because of his performances in West Indies is rubbish. He looks hungrier than he has ever looked in the last few years.

  • Parthiban on July 4, 2009, 3:21 GMT

    Harmison has been quite a revelation in the last couple of days - not quite with his bowling though. We all know what he is capable of when he is in the mood (which is not quite that often) but his confident self is quite refreshing if you are an England fan. Harmison is not for loud mouthing like some of his Aussie compatriots, so his sound bites in the last couple of days are quite significant. He sounds very confident but not cocky. It betrays a man who is quite comfortable in his own skin and coming to terms with the balancing act of his talent with the expectations that is heaped on him. May be, that we fans don't expect anything from him has taken away all the pressure he had to cope with for a while, giving him a fresh lease of life.

    He has a point when he says that he rattled few of the Aussie batsmen - remarkably he did not bowl long during the North / Clarke stand. England needs to bring in Harmison ASAP - Lord's may be too late in the helter skelter of a series.

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