England v South Africa, 1st ODI, Headingley August 21, 2008

Harmison ends ODI retirement

Cricinfo staff

Already back in whites, it's time for Steve Harmison to try some colour © Getty Images
Steve Harmison, who came out of ODI retirement yesterday and was promptly selected in England's XI to face South Africa at Headingley, has insisted that his return has nothing to do with financial reasons.

He is now available for England's match against Stanford Superstars on November 1, a game which will earn each victorious player more than £500,000. Yet Harmison denied claims that he was returning for financial reasons.

"I retired from one-day cricket for cricketing reasons and I'm coming back for cricketing reasons," he told BBC Radio. "Originally if I was going to come back I was going to come back on November 2 - I'm not coming back for financial reasons."

Harmison said that a settled family life helped him come to the decision. "After recently being asked by the England management to reassess my retirement from international one-day cricket I've decided to join England's ODI squad after careful consideration," he said yesterday. "It's something I have been thinking about for a period of time and due to recent injuries in the England camp the opportunity has arisen for me to play a role in this series.

"I decided to retire from England's ODI team for a number of reasons, one being the amount of time I was spending away from my family," he said. "Now that my family is settled and my bowling is settled I feel I have something to offer England's ODI side and am looking forward to playing a part in the series against South Africa."

Harmison announced his ODI retirement following the Ashes in Australia and his last ODI was against Australia in Jaipur during the 2006 Champions Trophy. It is a major U-turn from Harmison who, despite his successful return to the Test team at The Oval, continued to insist he was happy to stay out of ODIs.

However, Kevin Pietersen spoke about wanting him back in the one-day side following the Test series against South Africa. "It would be lovely to have him coming in first-change with the white ball, but you don't always get what you want in life," he said. Clearly Pietersen has been able to help change Harmison's mind.

Harmison returned to the Test team earlier this month for the first time since being dropped following the Hamilton Test in New Zealand in March. He said that being out of the England set-up has made him hungry to return in both formats of the game. However, he isn't looking beyond the forthcoming five ODIs against South Africa

"Having missed out on selection at various times this year I am well aware of the disappointment that comes from not being a part of the England dressing room," he said. "With that in mind I want to be a part of the team and if that means bringing myself out of retirement to play a role in this upcoming series then I'm happy to do just that.

Harmison has played 46 ODIs, taking 67 wickets at 30.70 with best figures of 5 for 33 against Australia, in Bristol, in 2005. He also has an ODI hat-trick, against India at Trent Bridge in 2004.

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  • Derek on August 22, 2008, 15:36 GMT

    Good to see Harmison's ODI return is not motivated by the money and Antigian match. The ICC will quite like boycott Pakistan. Do they know that more British people have been MURDERED in Antiga more recently than in Pakistan. England may do well to boycott Stanford's millions.

  • Nathaniel on August 22, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    I'm very glad to know that Steve Harmison has come out of ODI retirement. The last ODI he played for England was against Australia at Jaipur in the 2006 ICC Championship Tournament. At that time he seemed to lack that consistency, the discipline, & of course the firepower that he always have in him. His return to the ODI series against South Africa, will provide the firepower that has been missing from the England team for some time. One is almost certain that Steve Harmison is buzzing with confidence in the England camp at any point in time. His expectations are very high & no one would accept anything less than 100% from the big guy himself.

  • Karno on August 22, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    Very fickle from Harmison. He didn't stick around when England needed him the most nor did he attempt to stick around to fight his bad form. But he's willing to come back just before a lucrative tournament in Antigua. Just goes to show you how much pride and heart he has for his nation.

  • Andy on August 22, 2008, 8:23 GMT

    Strange news indeed. Nothing, of course, to do with the Stanford millions at stake. A good ODI series and Harmy's off to Antigua. Much more lucrative than bowling Durham to the Championship then...

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