The Ashes 2013 April 26, 2013

Harris confident of fitness ahead of Ashes

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Ryan Harris is confident he will be fit ahead of the Ashes after receiving encouraging results from scans on his injured Achilles tendon. This week, Harris was named in Australia's 16-man Ashes squad but he also flew home from the IPL due to the injury, which, if more serious, might have placed his England tour in jeopardy.

However, scans and the inspection of Cricket Australia's chief medical officer Justin Paolini showed that Harris' Achilles is not seriously injured, with an early estimate of six to eight weeks on the sidelines described by Harris as "the worst case scenario". It is more likely that Harris will be bowling again in three to four weeks, winning him time to play well before the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

"Australia A isn't discounted just yet either," Harris told ESPNcricinfo. "I've got to do some serious rehab and the doctor's confident that 6-8 weeks is the worst case scenario - if I do things right I could be right in a couple of weeks. The good thing is there is time to get it right and then bowl some overs. I'll have something under my belt for England.

"It's very disappointing to leave the IPL because as I said from the start it was crucial for me to keep bowling, but this is something I've had on and off for a long time and it's just flared up. The last four weeks of the season in Australia it was all fine. It's disappointing to leave Kings XI, but my main priority is obviously England."

Harris had felt Achilles discomfort for some time, and initially was left out of the Kings XI starting line-up for reasons of team balance rather than his inability to bowl with the ailment. But as the team met a succession of unhelpful pitches, Harris decided in concert with the Kings XI and Queensland coach Darren Lehmann that an early flight home was the best option.

"I knew anyway it wasn't going to be too bad, purely because I played at the end of the season here and then went over to play games over there," Harris said. "To be honest the reason I hadn't played since the 14th wasn't really to do with that, it was more about the make up of the team and the wickets we were playing on.

"Boof [Lehmann] had a think about it, I was a little bit more sore than I'd been at the end of the season. So the potential of me maybe only playing another three games, we got together and thought the best thing to do would be to come home and get right."

Having spent all but the final few weeks of the 2012-13 season recovering from shoulder surgery, Harris was delighted by both the renewal of his CA contract and the public statements of the captain Michael Clarke and the national selector John Inverarity that he had a key role to play in the Ashes if fit. He has resolved to repay that faith.

"It's very rewarding to know your captain and chairman of selectors back you and have a lot of confidence in you," Harris said. "That's why it's so important for me to get fit and play as many games as they need me to play. That's me repaying them for the faith they're putting in me.

"The last year has been terrible, and getting another CA contract for me is just another chance, and there's no better series to get that second chance than in an Ashes series. I'm that keen, that enthusiastic and that hungry to get back in that series, win the Ashes back and repay them."

As for injury being Harris' almost constant companion, he admitted to wondering when he might be blessed with a clear six months in which to deliver the sort of high quality bowling that has made him respected by batsmen around Australia and the world.

"It's fair to say a few things go through my mind - someone upstairs has got to give me a decent run somehow before I finish," he said. "It's not as if I'm tearing hamstrings or calves, the things I'm doing are structural things, purely through what I do. You get to the stage where you get a niggle and push yourself through that until it becomes something else, and that's when you stop. You push yourself to the maximum every time you bowl.

"If you mindset gets negative then you've probably got to make the decision in calling it quits, but I'm not ready to do that yet. I'll do whatever I can to get right, especially for a series like England."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • HatsforBats on May 1, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Wefinishthis, I see a shield average of 32 as ok, not poor, particularly as he only plays 1-2 games a season. How's he going to go against England? No idea. But he averages 26 against South Africa so that's a good start. In fact his average has decreased with each series and was <30 until he toured India, and he is hardly the first quick to have a rubbish tour of India. How would Faulkner have gone in India? Do you think Falkner could replicate his FC stats against SA or England, two teams with plenty of 50+ batsmen playing on easier pitches? How can you look at Faulkner's stats and not keep in mind that every 2nd match he plays is on a green seamer against poor batsmen? In the end they play different roles, they're not competing for the same spot, and 9 matches is far too short a span to determine the worthiness of a 23 yr old.

  • Wefinishthis on May 1, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    HatsforBats - I'd still like to know how you can overlook Starc's poor shield performances. If he can't average less than 30 against sub-standard batting lineups and seam-friendly pitches when 20-odd other bowlers are able to like you say, how is he going to perform at test level against this outstanding England batting lineup?

  • HatsforBats on April 30, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    @ Wefinishthis, you could hardly claim that any australian state side right now is comparable to, let alone stronger than, the international sides Starc has played against. And it is universal knowledge that shield pitches are much more seam friendly than their test counterparts. Just three recognised batsmen avg. 50+ this season, I think that classifies as sub-standard. Meanwhile 24 bowlers avg. <25 (6 bowlers avg. <20!), surly seamer friendly conditions don't you think? Starc has barely played a state game in 18 months and is averaging 34 in tests, hardly "very poor" considering the number of test bowlers going around these days with a sub-30 average. I too think Faulkner is deserving of higher honours, but he has had the benefit of consistent selection in better bowling conditions (particularly as Hobart is such a result pitch) in order to stake his claim, opportunities Starc hasn't been given.

  • Wefinishthis on April 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    HatsforBats - If the shield batting is sub-standard and assists seamers, then how do you account for the fact that Starc's shield record is almost as bad as his FC record? If Starc can't even perform against poor batsmen in assisting conditions he must be REALLY bad. So there's nothing facile about that comparison at all. Furthermore, Starc has only played 3 test matches outside of Australia. All of his other matches he played in seam friendly conditions (Brisbane, Hobart, Perth) against sub-standard batting lineups like NZ, SL, WI or the ageing Indian lineup at the time. He's only played 3 test matches against quality batting lineups. One was at home against SA in Perth and the other two were away vs India. Whether you look at his FC, home, away or whatever, his FC/Test record is very poor. He's one of the first ODI players picked in my books, but he is obviously not up to test standard at this time. Faulkner is far more deserving. I like Butterworth, but he is a different story.

  • pat_one_back on April 29, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Harris, Patto, Bird, Starc, Sidds, helluva lot of firepower for an Eng batting line up barely good enough to draw with NZ! Amazing how some can't even remember the last 5 weeks let alone 5 years.

  • Amith_S on April 29, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Good to hear, we need Harris firing

  • HatsforBats on April 29, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    @ Wefinishthis, considering the rather poor standard of batting and the propensity of seaming conditions in shield cricket it seems rather facile to compare the respective figures of Faulkner & Starc when, as you say, Starc has played a third of his matches against international test batsmen on far less responsive pitches. Faulkner's figures are brilliant and he has had the benefit of consistent state selection with no rotation policy enforced. Starc has tremendous potential and it's incomprehensible to think that at 23yrs old that if he doesn't perform early in the Ashes tour his test career should be shelved. And given the rotation policy I'm sure Faulkner will get his chances, more chances than Butterworth wil get.

  • Wefinishthis on April 29, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    ScottStevo - Obviously we can't compare Faulkner's non-existant test figures to Starc's, but how else can Faulkner get a fair go if he's never given a chance? What we can do is compare Starc's test figures to a benchmark of an average under 30 and s/r under 55, taking into account no. games, pitch conditions and the quality of wickets taken etc. More importantly however, we can certainly compare Faulkner's FC stats to Starc's FC stats. Both have played 34 FC matches (Starc played 9 of those for Australia) and Starc averaged 32.9 in FC whilst Faulkner averaged 22.3 in FC. Faulkner led his team to the shield title whilst Starc remains a white-ball specialist. MJ is not going to be in anyone's all-time XI and neither will Starc unless he improves dramatically. If Starc can't improve in his first few games on the ashes tour, it will be pretty obvious that he just isn't cut out for test cricket. Faulkner has been far more deserving, but will likely only ever get one chance at best.

  • ScottStevo on April 28, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, You use a lot of stats to prove how ordinary Starc is, yet state Faulkner as our best left armer when he hasn't even played a test match. Personally, I don't think Faulkner will cut it in tests and looks more suited to the shorter formats. The selectors have faith and I'm certain we'll see him in this series, so I hope you're right... @Front-Foot-Lunge, seems you've also forgotten, mate. Prior to the '10/11 Ashes, Cook was fighting to keep his place in the side let alone take over as captain.

  • HatsforBats on April 28, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney, to be fair Harris would never have been pencilled in for all five tests. The plan would probably be to use Harris every alternate test or for a couple of consecutive tests, not the whole series. "If he gets it right", to be honest I think Starc could be the best bowler in world cricket; but at the moment Pattinson is the bigger threat. Right now he's more consistently threatening (admittedly less magic deliveries), quicker (Starc seems to coast on autopilot for extended periods), and he shows more intent (again, Starc goes missing at times, while Pattinson is constantly at the batsmen). I think it's going to be an absolutely cracking back to back series.

  • HatsforBats on May 1, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Wefinishthis, I see a shield average of 32 as ok, not poor, particularly as he only plays 1-2 games a season. How's he going to go against England? No idea. But he averages 26 against South Africa so that's a good start. In fact his average has decreased with each series and was <30 until he toured India, and he is hardly the first quick to have a rubbish tour of India. How would Faulkner have gone in India? Do you think Falkner could replicate his FC stats against SA or England, two teams with plenty of 50+ batsmen playing on easier pitches? How can you look at Faulkner's stats and not keep in mind that every 2nd match he plays is on a green seamer against poor batsmen? In the end they play different roles, they're not competing for the same spot, and 9 matches is far too short a span to determine the worthiness of a 23 yr old.

  • Wefinishthis on May 1, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    HatsforBats - I'd still like to know how you can overlook Starc's poor shield performances. If he can't average less than 30 against sub-standard batting lineups and seam-friendly pitches when 20-odd other bowlers are able to like you say, how is he going to perform at test level against this outstanding England batting lineup?

  • HatsforBats on April 30, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    @ Wefinishthis, you could hardly claim that any australian state side right now is comparable to, let alone stronger than, the international sides Starc has played against. And it is universal knowledge that shield pitches are much more seam friendly than their test counterparts. Just three recognised batsmen avg. 50+ this season, I think that classifies as sub-standard. Meanwhile 24 bowlers avg. <25 (6 bowlers avg. <20!), surly seamer friendly conditions don't you think? Starc has barely played a state game in 18 months and is averaging 34 in tests, hardly "very poor" considering the number of test bowlers going around these days with a sub-30 average. I too think Faulkner is deserving of higher honours, but he has had the benefit of consistent selection in better bowling conditions (particularly as Hobart is such a result pitch) in order to stake his claim, opportunities Starc hasn't been given.

  • Wefinishthis on April 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    HatsforBats - If the shield batting is sub-standard and assists seamers, then how do you account for the fact that Starc's shield record is almost as bad as his FC record? If Starc can't even perform against poor batsmen in assisting conditions he must be REALLY bad. So there's nothing facile about that comparison at all. Furthermore, Starc has only played 3 test matches outside of Australia. All of his other matches he played in seam friendly conditions (Brisbane, Hobart, Perth) against sub-standard batting lineups like NZ, SL, WI or the ageing Indian lineup at the time. He's only played 3 test matches against quality batting lineups. One was at home against SA in Perth and the other two were away vs India. Whether you look at his FC, home, away or whatever, his FC/Test record is very poor. He's one of the first ODI players picked in my books, but he is obviously not up to test standard at this time. Faulkner is far more deserving. I like Butterworth, but he is a different story.

  • pat_one_back on April 29, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Harris, Patto, Bird, Starc, Sidds, helluva lot of firepower for an Eng batting line up barely good enough to draw with NZ! Amazing how some can't even remember the last 5 weeks let alone 5 years.

  • Amith_S on April 29, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Good to hear, we need Harris firing

  • HatsforBats on April 29, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    @ Wefinishthis, considering the rather poor standard of batting and the propensity of seaming conditions in shield cricket it seems rather facile to compare the respective figures of Faulkner & Starc when, as you say, Starc has played a third of his matches against international test batsmen on far less responsive pitches. Faulkner's figures are brilliant and he has had the benefit of consistent state selection with no rotation policy enforced. Starc has tremendous potential and it's incomprehensible to think that at 23yrs old that if he doesn't perform early in the Ashes tour his test career should be shelved. And given the rotation policy I'm sure Faulkner will get his chances, more chances than Butterworth wil get.

  • Wefinishthis on April 29, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    ScottStevo - Obviously we can't compare Faulkner's non-existant test figures to Starc's, but how else can Faulkner get a fair go if he's never given a chance? What we can do is compare Starc's test figures to a benchmark of an average under 30 and s/r under 55, taking into account no. games, pitch conditions and the quality of wickets taken etc. More importantly however, we can certainly compare Faulkner's FC stats to Starc's FC stats. Both have played 34 FC matches (Starc played 9 of those for Australia) and Starc averaged 32.9 in FC whilst Faulkner averaged 22.3 in FC. Faulkner led his team to the shield title whilst Starc remains a white-ball specialist. MJ is not going to be in anyone's all-time XI and neither will Starc unless he improves dramatically. If Starc can't improve in his first few games on the ashes tour, it will be pretty obvious that he just isn't cut out for test cricket. Faulkner has been far more deserving, but will likely only ever get one chance at best.

  • ScottStevo on April 28, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, You use a lot of stats to prove how ordinary Starc is, yet state Faulkner as our best left armer when he hasn't even played a test match. Personally, I don't think Faulkner will cut it in tests and looks more suited to the shorter formats. The selectors have faith and I'm certain we'll see him in this series, so I hope you're right... @Front-Foot-Lunge, seems you've also forgotten, mate. Prior to the '10/11 Ashes, Cook was fighting to keep his place in the side let alone take over as captain.

  • HatsforBats on April 28, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney, to be fair Harris would never have been pencilled in for all five tests. The plan would probably be to use Harris every alternate test or for a couple of consecutive tests, not the whole series. "If he gets it right", to be honest I think Starc could be the best bowler in world cricket; but at the moment Pattinson is the bigger threat. Right now he's more consistently threatening (admittedly less magic deliveries), quicker (Starc seems to coast on autopilot for extended periods), and he shows more intent (again, Starc goes missing at times, while Pattinson is constantly at the batsmen). I think it's going to be an absolutely cracking back to back series.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 28, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    It's amazing how to some fans it's like the last five years never happened. @Wefinishthis: Yes Harris got Cook at Adelaide...When Cook had made 148 already. He will almost certainly be fearing that Harris doesn't allow him to get past 150 again.. Mr 766 left such an impact down under its not surprising that the sheer number of runs he scored last Ashes is still a hard fact to stare at for some.

  • Barnesy4444 on April 28, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    Let's say Harris sustains an injury in the first session of a test, it could cost us the match. The selectors will need to decide whether this risk is acceptable given our current stock of quicks.

  • Wefinishthis on April 28, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    Hilfenhaus does NOT have good numbers. Those stats are both incorrect and misleading. He has taken only 29 wickets against England and his average in England is 27, not 26. To put things in perspective, look at his overall average against England home and away and it is an I.Sharma-like 42! (because he averaged 59 against Eng in Aus). He had ONE good series and that was at home to India, a series in which India sent over their ageing batting lineup where ALL of Australia's bowlers improved their overall stats dramatically. In that series, 'haus at his very best averaged an excellent 17 (but Philander's current overall career average). If we take out his good India series, which everyone bowled well in, his overall Test record would be a very uninviting 32.7. After 27 matches, he has just TWO 5-wicket hauls (both in that sames India series), whilst Philander already has 9 after just 16 matches. THAT is the level that Australia's bowlers need to be at to be better than SA and become no.1

  • Wefinishthis on April 28, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    I love Front-Foot-Lunge, fantastic sense of humour. Fact is that Harris has an outstanding career record and against England has a good average of 25.5 and a brilliant strike rate of 45.5. He ended Cook's innings in Adelaide as well, so I highly doubt Cook will be looking forward to facing him. Harris is the least of Cook's concerns though. He now has Pattinson, Bird and Faulkner to worry about as well and no pie-chucking Beer, Doherty, 'haus or Johnson to plunder runs off this time. His best chance to score is off Siddle, Starc and Lyon. I just can't believe people still think Starc is in our best team. He is worse than MJ. An average of over 34 after 9 tests is awful. You cannot get to and stay no.1 with bowlers like that. His Strike Rate of 57.6 is not good and his FC stats are not much better either. Faulkner is our best left-armer by a chasm. Our best attack is O'keefe/Faulkner, Harris, Pattinson, Bird. Thankfully for Aus, O'Keefe excepted, they're all in this squad.

  • wickedballs on April 27, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Our long lists of fast bowlers have been developed and sit in waiting. It's common knowledge that England wish to wear down this Australia's attack with Trott, Compton and Cook, then hope the rest will make merry. The plan since cricket has begun that an all-out fast bowling attack will scare the preverbal s...t out of the opposition. Good luck POMs, if you can hang in there and escape by the skin of your teeth, you will only be delaying the ineveratable. For when you visit Oz, another set of fresh fast bowlers will be waiting there to have you hopping and jumping.... start getting use to it !!!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 27, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    It unfortunate as Cook will be itching to face Harris again, and if he does it'll be 2010/11 all over again.

  • ScottStevo on April 27, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    With Harris and Siddle being very similar styles bowlers, I think we can only afford to play one or the other to keep things varied, unless we decide to play 4 seamers, in which case I'd then play Bird. Our best bowling line up is definitely Pattinson, Siddle and Starc with Lyon, although I think Bird could be very dangerous in English conditions and could well be our surprise package of this tour. With the amount of time Harris has been sidelined, this set back could see him out of the squad. Unless he's 100% fit, he shouldn't be in the squad. This may seem weird, but I would replace him with Ferguson as it appears likely that we will end up with Faulkner in the side anyway - with another batmsan around, hopefully reason will prevail and if Faulkner plays he bats at 8 or lower.

  • Ozcricketwriter on April 27, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    My prediction is that they won't risk Harris now and Mitchell Johnson is my prediction to come in his place.

  • wellrounded87 on April 27, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    I think a lot of people are putting too much stock into mitchell starc. He's impressed with the white ball but his red ball performances are pretty mediocre to date. I think he needs to spend more time in shield and be used as a replacement rather than a front runner. Bird, Pattinson, Johnson, Siddle and Harris are all far more reliable options.

    When is cummins going to be fit again? It's almost like Harris has passed the torch on for extremely talented yet fragile fast bowler

  • on April 27, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    @Randy Oz: here are the relevant stats for Hilfenhaus:

    Overall Test record: 27 games: 99 wickets @28.

    Test record in England: 7 games: 30 wickets @26.

    Test record since 2011/12: 10 games: 44 wickets @20.

    Looks like *several* good summers to me (including, most pertinently, the 2009 Ashes & the 2010 Oz v Pakistan series played in England).

  • jmcilhinney on April 27, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    I wish Harris all the best but, based on his history, it's really hard to see him making it through a whole 5-match series. Mind you, Zaheer Khan surprised everyone and made it through the whole series in Australia so you never know. Personally, if he gets it right, I think that Starc might be the biggest threat in that Australia bowling lineup.

  • OneEyedAussie on April 27, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    @Si Baker on (April 26, 2013, 19:44 GMT) : Hilfenhaus certainly has good numbers, but my concern with him has always been his striking ability. If his pace is down, he just isn't threatening at all. If he can prove he can bowl high 130's+ consistently then he will be a good pick for England.

  • on April 26, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    @Randy Oz: here are the relevant stats for Hilfenhaus:

    Overall Test record: 27 games: 99 wickets @28.

    Test record in England: 7 games: 30 wickets @26.

    Test record since 2011/12: 10 games: 44 wickets @20.

    Looks like *several* good summers to me (including, most pertinently, the 2009 Ashes & the 2010 Oz v Pakistan series played in England).

  • on April 26, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    @Randy Oz: here are the relevant stats for Hilfenhaus:

    Overall Test record: 27 games: 99 wickets @28.

    Test record in England: 7 games: 30 wickets @26.

    Test record since 2011/12: 10 games: 44 wickets @20.

    Looks like *several* good summers to me (including, most pertinently, the 2009 Ashes & the 2010 Oz v Pakistan series played in England).

  • SirViv1973 on April 26, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Since his late start to test cricket he has done well & was head & shoulders above any other Aus bowler in the last ashes series before the inevitable break down. The problem Aus have is that it's a question of WHEN he breaks down, not if & the real problem could be if it happens in the early stages of a vital Test, so IMO I think his inclusion is a liability. We are constantly bombarded by Aus fans telling us how great their seam options are, if they are that great surly you can do without this guy.

  • Beertjie on April 26, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    Like many others, I think it's worth a punt having Harris around till he breaks down completely. The squad knows the score and will back the risk. Anyway, I think the NSP already have their replacement for him, @Si Baker on (April 26, 2013, 14:47 GMT). He's in the A-squad to gain experience and show what he can do: Chadd Sayers.

  • RandyOZ on April 26, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    @ Si Baker - you are exposing your lack of cricketing knowledge if you think Hilfenhaus is dependable. He had one good summer in a career of mediocrity (check his stats).

  • on April 26, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    How much longer are Harris & CA going to delude themselves into believing that the already-ailing body of a spectacularly injury-prone 33-year-old is going to withstand the rigours of a ten-Test double-header? It's not just a question of Test-by-Test availability: it's also about whether the morale-sapping effect on the entire squad of a perpetual question mark hovering over just one player is a price worth paying for the remote possibility that he might just make it through five days on two or three occasions. Retaining Harris in the squad will only serve to undermine the forward planning Australia need at this stage if they're to mount a realistic Ashes challenge. Far better to thank Harris for the whole-hearted efforts he's put in over the past few years, bid him a fond goodbye, pencil in Bird for the role of reliable stock back-up to Siddle, Starc & Pattinson, &, as Harris's replacement, either throw in Mitchell Johnson as a wild card or fall back on the dependable Hilfenhaus.

  • RandyOZ on April 26, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Although he is one of the best bowlers on Earth, he is very injury prone so we need a decent backup. I think Starc should play every test.

  • brusselslion on April 26, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    @Beertjie: Not sure about Old Trafford but, based on the early season strips, if you are expecting The Oval Test to be anything other than a boring draw then you will be sadly disappointed.

  • Straightarm on April 26, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    Australia's best bowling attack is Siddle, Starc, Lyon and Harris. Due to the possibility of an injury break down, Pattinson and Harris cannot play together and in light of Australia's genuine leadership woes, Harris wins out as the more experienced campaigner. If Clarke is off the field, Harris would serve as Haddin's de facto deputy. Starc's left arm swing will complement Harris' in-swing and Siddle's seam. The other up-shot is that this bowling attack are all competent with the bat, and that will definitely be needed with the top-order fragility

  • Moppa on April 26, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @landl47, your point is valid, but the only reason why we could get away with five bowlers is because most of our bowlers are handy with the bat - Faulkner, Siddle, Starc, Harris and Pattinson all go OK. However, I think the Ashes are England's to lose so we can't afford to play safe and look for insurance - I think we have to go for our best 6 bats for the conditions and our best 4 bowlers, at least to start the series.

  • on April 26, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    To be honest, what the Aussies should have done is name their Ashes squad and said 'We'll also be taking Ryan Harris, fitness permitting'. Now they're going to get all sorts of headlines about 'Ashes plans up in smoke'.

    He was always going to be a massive gamble and therefore should have been a back up selection. Even if he had been fit, also naming him in the A squad for the warm up games was an act of insane over-optimism.

    At least now the likelihood of Harris, Pattinson and Starc all being named in the same XI is very remote.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on April 26, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Given a choice I would play Ryan Harris even if he is 0.001 % fit he is simply a GENUINE STRIKE BOWLER, HANDY LOWER ORDER BATSMAN , ENTHUSIASTIC FIELDER AND IMPORTANTLY A GUTSY BLOKE. He is aussies' best cricketer alongwith michael clarke

  • landl47 on April 26, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    @Jayzuz,: sorry, slip of the finger- Melbourne test of 2010 (the England tour). He's only played one Melbourne test, so it's easy to spot. He's been injured before the game started in every other Melbourne test for the last 4 years.

    Incidentally, in the Adelaide test on the 2010/11 tour, Harris had what I think was probably the most unsuccessful batting performance ever in test cricket. He was out first ball in both innings and reviewed both decisions unsuccessfully. He's not a bad bat, but that was a classic.

  • landl47 on April 26, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    Given that Aus has problems with its batting, how can an extra bowler be carried in case Harris breaks down? Recent matches, tests and ODIs, have seen Pattinson and Watson break down during games- Pattinson against SA, which probably cost Aus the win, and Watson against England in the ODI series last year. Since both of them are likely to play, Harris as part of a 4-man plus Watson attack is way too big a risk.

    @Jayzuz: try the Melbourne test of 2011. Harris limped off with 0-91 against his name. Missed the rest of that match and the Sydney test as well. Look it up.

  • Mitty2 on April 26, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    @beertjie, the key for me is bird. His action alludes to a durable bowler - despite the recent stress factors (in which he confessed he had for a long time but they only recently started to affect him) - and his action is mgcrath like. The way he bustles and freely releases almost reminds me of philander as well, but it is because he doesn't lose his height in his action (in conjucntion with his accuracy and slight swing/seam) that makes him have one of the best FC averages going around.

    Siddle, as @Green and gold adverts to, would be more effective if he goes back to the fuller length that he bowled with in the Indian series, but I don't think it's that simple. He's become more versatile, and is shown with the last two tests of the Indian whitewash, he can adapt to conditions that don't suit him, or in the case of the Indian pitches, negate him. Siddle has been swinging it more recently at the expense of pace, and he's still that workhorse and leader, so he's first picked.

  • Jayzuz on April 26, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    So, @Tony Hughes, when was the last time Harris didn't finish a game? Any game? The answer is never. So why would you be worried about it now? He tends to pull up sore after games. I can not ever recall him doing so DURING a game.

  • on April 26, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    I'm skeptical how much of a part Ryan Harris will play in the Ashes Series. We're at that stage with him where each time he bowls a spell, you're sitting there waiting for him to pull and and start grimacing, Tubby announcing an hour later that he's out of the Test. Then the next day, he's out of the tour and returns home, the Test lost because you're one bowler short for 2 days.

    Siddle, while not quite in the same league as Harris, will bowl all day for you. And crucially, he'll remain fit.

  • Green_and_Gold on April 26, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    @Mitty2 - siddle, bird, patto and Lyon sounds about right for the bowling attack esp if watto is there to bowl a few. I like Siddle and think he has great heart. I watched him bowl to India at home and he and Hilfy hit the right areas - only problem was that they both went back to old habits shortly after and didnt seem as effective. I hope Sids finds the right length in the UK to trouble the batsman otherwise i dont think he will be as potent. I hope Harris gets/stays fit cause i think he adds to our options. Batting line up..... i hope these blokes stand up to the challenge and put on runs. Seems like we are so focused on being aggressive that we have forgotten to bat out 5 days (something Eng and Saf have have done recently to save matches). If i see warner slash at one out side off in the first over then im going to track him down and slap some sense into him!

  • Beertjie on April 26, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Perceptive comments @ Mitty2 on (April 26, 2013, 8:58 GMT). However Starc needs to be factored in at some stage. If he gets things right in warm-ups/nets I'd consider him for 'hard' wickets like Old Trafford and the Oval. I'm not sure Harris and Siddle are like for like since the former swings it both ways. Patto and Siddle are both hit-the-deckers with the former a genuine quick outswinger. Bird will be needed on most tracks because of his accuracy/swing so mixing and matching depending on conditions is probably best. I'm not sure it will be best to have an all-rounder like Watson/Faulkner for all tests except those when Harris plays. There's so much for the selectors to consider before deciding on the XI for any given test, but getting the 'bowling' balance right is going to be crucial. Not as crucial as the batting, though!

  • Mitty2 on April 26, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    The constant issues are probably due to the fact that he used to be a medium pace trundler for a long time, and then when he started to bowl faster to the 140+ mark, the injuries accompanied this move.

    Most people mistake him as a strike bowler, and his test stats probably back that up, but watching him through the shield final and other tests he is a workhorse bowler - and a very clever one at that - who figures batsman out. This is why he has been successful on dead tracks and even more so on helpful pitches. But with the much improved siddle, I'd say that they are the same type of bowler, with both sharing passion and heart, but I wouldn't have them in the same attack. Punter said that Harris is the best quick in Australia (a fair achievement) but a workhorse like Harris needs to play ALL tests - not be rotated. I doubt harris' ability to play all tests and it is for this reason that I'd prefer an attack of siddle, bird, patto and Lyon. Siddle's durability puts him above Harris.

  • on April 26, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The Aussie bowling attack should comprise of Harris, Starc, Faulkner, Pattinson , Johnson , Siddle and Lyon. The variety can be used more properly on the aussie pitches.

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  • on April 26, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The Aussie bowling attack should comprise of Harris, Starc, Faulkner, Pattinson , Johnson , Siddle and Lyon. The variety can be used more properly on the aussie pitches.

  • Mitty2 on April 26, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    The constant issues are probably due to the fact that he used to be a medium pace trundler for a long time, and then when he started to bowl faster to the 140+ mark, the injuries accompanied this move.

    Most people mistake him as a strike bowler, and his test stats probably back that up, but watching him through the shield final and other tests he is a workhorse bowler - and a very clever one at that - who figures batsman out. This is why he has been successful on dead tracks and even more so on helpful pitches. But with the much improved siddle, I'd say that they are the same type of bowler, with both sharing passion and heart, but I wouldn't have them in the same attack. Punter said that Harris is the best quick in Australia (a fair achievement) but a workhorse like Harris needs to play ALL tests - not be rotated. I doubt harris' ability to play all tests and it is for this reason that I'd prefer an attack of siddle, bird, patto and Lyon. Siddle's durability puts him above Harris.

  • Beertjie on April 26, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Perceptive comments @ Mitty2 on (April 26, 2013, 8:58 GMT). However Starc needs to be factored in at some stage. If he gets things right in warm-ups/nets I'd consider him for 'hard' wickets like Old Trafford and the Oval. I'm not sure Harris and Siddle are like for like since the former swings it both ways. Patto and Siddle are both hit-the-deckers with the former a genuine quick outswinger. Bird will be needed on most tracks because of his accuracy/swing so mixing and matching depending on conditions is probably best. I'm not sure it will be best to have an all-rounder like Watson/Faulkner for all tests except those when Harris plays. There's so much for the selectors to consider before deciding on the XI for any given test, but getting the 'bowling' balance right is going to be crucial. Not as crucial as the batting, though!

  • Green_and_Gold on April 26, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    @Mitty2 - siddle, bird, patto and Lyon sounds about right for the bowling attack esp if watto is there to bowl a few. I like Siddle and think he has great heart. I watched him bowl to India at home and he and Hilfy hit the right areas - only problem was that they both went back to old habits shortly after and didnt seem as effective. I hope Sids finds the right length in the UK to trouble the batsman otherwise i dont think he will be as potent. I hope Harris gets/stays fit cause i think he adds to our options. Batting line up..... i hope these blokes stand up to the challenge and put on runs. Seems like we are so focused on being aggressive that we have forgotten to bat out 5 days (something Eng and Saf have have done recently to save matches). If i see warner slash at one out side off in the first over then im going to track him down and slap some sense into him!

  • on April 26, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    I'm skeptical how much of a part Ryan Harris will play in the Ashes Series. We're at that stage with him where each time he bowls a spell, you're sitting there waiting for him to pull and and start grimacing, Tubby announcing an hour later that he's out of the Test. Then the next day, he's out of the tour and returns home, the Test lost because you're one bowler short for 2 days.

    Siddle, while not quite in the same league as Harris, will bowl all day for you. And crucially, he'll remain fit.

  • Jayzuz on April 26, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    So, @Tony Hughes, when was the last time Harris didn't finish a game? Any game? The answer is never. So why would you be worried about it now? He tends to pull up sore after games. I can not ever recall him doing so DURING a game.

  • Mitty2 on April 26, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    @beertjie, the key for me is bird. His action alludes to a durable bowler - despite the recent stress factors (in which he confessed he had for a long time but they only recently started to affect him) - and his action is mgcrath like. The way he bustles and freely releases almost reminds me of philander as well, but it is because he doesn't lose his height in his action (in conjucntion with his accuracy and slight swing/seam) that makes him have one of the best FC averages going around.

    Siddle, as @Green and gold adverts to, would be more effective if he goes back to the fuller length that he bowled with in the Indian series, but I don't think it's that simple. He's become more versatile, and is shown with the last two tests of the Indian whitewash, he can adapt to conditions that don't suit him, or in the case of the Indian pitches, negate him. Siddle has been swinging it more recently at the expense of pace, and he's still that workhorse and leader, so he's first picked.

  • landl47 on April 26, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    Given that Aus has problems with its batting, how can an extra bowler be carried in case Harris breaks down? Recent matches, tests and ODIs, have seen Pattinson and Watson break down during games- Pattinson against SA, which probably cost Aus the win, and Watson against England in the ODI series last year. Since both of them are likely to play, Harris as part of a 4-man plus Watson attack is way too big a risk.

    @Jayzuz: try the Melbourne test of 2011. Harris limped off with 0-91 against his name. Missed the rest of that match and the Sydney test as well. Look it up.

  • landl47 on April 26, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    @Jayzuz,: sorry, slip of the finger- Melbourne test of 2010 (the England tour). He's only played one Melbourne test, so it's easy to spot. He's been injured before the game started in every other Melbourne test for the last 4 years.

    Incidentally, in the Adelaide test on the 2010/11 tour, Harris had what I think was probably the most unsuccessful batting performance ever in test cricket. He was out first ball in both innings and reviewed both decisions unsuccessfully. He's not a bad bat, but that was a classic.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on April 26, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Given a choice I would play Ryan Harris even if he is 0.001 % fit he is simply a GENUINE STRIKE BOWLER, HANDY LOWER ORDER BATSMAN , ENTHUSIASTIC FIELDER AND IMPORTANTLY A GUTSY BLOKE. He is aussies' best cricketer alongwith michael clarke