New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Hamilton March 8, 2008

Harmison: 'I'll try my nuts off every time'

Cricinfo staff

Steve Harmison: 'To spend nearly 10 or 11 months away from my family just doesn't work' © Getty Images
Steve Harmison, under fire for a below-par performance in the first innings in Hamilton, has dismissed criticism that he was underprepared because he had chosen to arrive late in New Zealand to enable him to attend the birth of his fourth child.

"I would never knock the decision I made to come out five days late," Harmison said in an interview with Nasser Hussain on Sky Sports ahead of the fourth day of the Test. "You always want to be there for the birth of your child." He did, however admit that "my preparation for this Test match could have gone a little bit better".

But what was clear is that Harmison himself was unclear as to his priorities. "I want to play Test cricket. I love playing cricket ... it's my job. I'll try my nuts off every time. But I want to enjoy my family life as well. That's the most important thing in my life. To spend nearly 10 or 11 months away from my family just doesn't work.

"I want to do both, but to see my kids is a big thing to me. I love my family and I want to spend a lot of time with them."

With regards to the Hamilton Test, Harmison admitted that he was unaware that he was bowling in the high 70s until he spoke to England's support staff. "I felt a bit under pressure to take wickets for the side and perhaps I was striving too hard," he said. "I kept trying to bowl the million-dollar ball, and that was always the one that disappeared through midwicket or extra cover."