Australia in West Indies 2012 March 29, 2012

Harris expects to be left on sidelines


Ryan Harris believes he will struggle to force his way into Australia's side for the first Test against West Indies in Barbados next month. Australia's Test specialists, including Harris and his fast-bowling colleague Peter Siddle, have flown out to join the rest of the squad in the Caribbean for a three-day tour match ahead of the Test series.

The warm-up game will help the selectors decide on their best attack for the Bridgetown Test, and a three-man pace attack of Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson appears likely after their success in the home summer. Harris and Mitchell Starc are the other fast bowlers in the squad, while the spinners Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer will come into contention on the slow Caribbean pitches.

Harris played in the last two Tests of Australia's series against India after Pattinson was sidelined by injury but he was dropped from the ODI side in the tri-series that followed. A year ago, Harris was arguably Australia's best Test bowler but he believes he will be on the sidelines for the start of the upcoming Test series.

"I don't think I will be starting," Harris told reporters in Brisbane before departing. "Sidds had an amazing summer and so did Jimmy [Pattinson]. The only reason I got a game was because Jimmy went down. And Hilf has come back to his best. If those three don't start, I will be in shock. They did such a good job against India this summer for us - they thoroughly deserve their spots over there."

Before he flew out to join the squad, Australia's captain Michael Clarke mentioned the possibility of playing both Lyon and Beer in a two-man spin attack, which is another option for the selectors. Whatever the case, the Australians will need to work out how best to operate on pitches that will be quite different from those on which they defeated India 4-0 during the summer.

"They have looked a bit slow and dead," Siddle said of the limited-overs pitches in the Caribbean. "It will be interesting to see how the Test pitches come up. You will need patience and consistency. Ryano showed that in Sri Lanka. Reverse swing will come into it as well, and we have to bowl well with the spinner or spinners - Nathan and Beery might bowl together, you never know."

The batting line-up is expected to be more settled, with Ed Cowan and David Warner likely to open and Shane Watson expected to bat at No.3. The three-day tour match against the WICB Board President's XI starts at Kensington Oval on April 2.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 31, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    Really, RandyOZ? I seem to remember Steve Waugh and Allan Border batting @ 5 for the majority of their careers. Nobody had any trouble respecting them... personally I think Watson should be @ 5 with Clarke @ 4 and Ponting @ 3. If/when Ponting retires/gets dropped, then someone like Khawaja can come in to the #3 position. Watson batting @ 3 doesn't really give him any time to rest if one of the openers gets out early.

  • Randolph on March 31, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Im sorry but Clarke has to play at 3. If he wants the respect Ponting got then he has to play at 3, the most important position.

  • Bryn on March 30, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    but i think even hilf might miss out because beer may play if the pitches are turning. those dumping on beer i undertand if you are from NSW because SOK was unlucky again but beer has been a standout in all forms and deserves tests. at the very very very least beer dries up one end and picks up the odd wicket

  • Bryn on March 30, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    only the best side in the world could even think about leaving out ryan harris. he would be first bowler picked in any other test side, south africa would probably choose steyn first though.

  • Peter on March 30, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    To have a guy like Harris as a reserve is awesome! They don't lose anything should one of their quicks gets injured or loses form. For all the Beer knockers, do yourselves a huge favour and go look up the first class stats of the just completed Australian season. He has come off a huge season and he played half his games on the non condusive WACA pitch! The off season report recommended the selection of form players, ergo he is selected. Doesn't get much more simple than that, does it?

  • Peter on March 30, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    @Gururaj Baji. What happens if Watson gets injured? Ask the Indian cricket team, they didn't have to play him in any of the 4 teasts they got flogged in.

  • Andrew on March 30, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    @Chaman Betrabet - assuming Smith was selected, he would definately turn the IPL down. Thing is, he is getting further away from selection. @Tom Baker - yes he did have a good Shield season, but this year we had other good performers too. He doesn't really inspire me much. Good luck to him, though I hope we won't need it!

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    People can't believe Beer is in the team? He was one of the best performing bowlers in the last Shield season, and the best performing spinner. Average was mid-20s, good economy rate and took plenty of wickets. And he played most of his games at the WACA.

    He's back up for the incumbent spinner, over there because its difficult to fly an injury replacement in at short notice.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    steve smith is a better bet than o'keefe but i wonder whether smith will want to travel to west indies as he has got a contract in the IPL.

  • Tim on March 30, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    I think Australia should keep it simple with selections. We don't need to experiment with 2 spinners or mucking around with the order. Bring Watto in for Marsh and bring back Pattinson. I don't mind if it's Hilf or Harris as the 3rd quick bowler to be honest. My team: Cowan, Warner, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Siddle, Pattinson, Harris/Hilfy, Lyon

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