Australia in West Indies 2012 March 29, 2012

Harris expects to be left on sidelines

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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

  • Something_Witty 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.

  • RandyOZ 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.

  • jonesy2 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

  • jonesy2 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.

  • Chris_P 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?

  • Chris_P 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.

  • Meety 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dashgar 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

  • Something_Witty 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.

  • RandyOZ 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.

  • jonesy2 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

  • jonesy2 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.

  • Chris_P 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?

  • Chris_P 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.

  • Meety 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dashgar 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

  • Meety on March 29, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - agree re: WI domestic comp. the other factor too, is that an Oz spinner averaging 40 is up against good players of spin. Oz batsmen generally play spin quite well, except in India. I look at a lot of the WIndies batsmen & they seem to be inexperienced & have low averages. I would also say with SO'K, whilst he hasn't had a great Shield, he took on some captaincy this season, & was in & out of the side in the first half of the season.

  • Stevo_ on March 29, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    I can't believe Beer ever played a test for Australia, I furtehr can't believe they actually selected him again. It's like me out there rolling the arm over

  • kensohatter on March 29, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Harris is dead on in this article there simply are not enough spots to include him in the first test team. I sincerely hope Australia dont go with a two spin option as I dont think Michael Beer poses as much a threat as Pattison, Hilfy or Siddle and he lengthens the tail. Watson has to bat 3 to allow the Cowan , Warner combo to flourish. The previous talk about Neville is rubbish... He is on this tour to gain some experience but Wade is the man for the job. Neville is a prospect and still the 5th best keeper in australia (behind Wade, Haddin, Paine and Hartley). My team for the first test. 1. Cowan 2. Warner, 3. Watson, 4. Ponting, 5, Clarke, 6. M.Hussey, 7. Wade, 8. Pattison, 9. Siddle, 10. Hilfenhaus, 11. Lyon

  • VivGilchrist on March 29, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    I have seen Okeefes stats this season and they have not been great but I ask you all to check out the leading wicket takers in the WI regional 4-day comp.... they are all spinners! and I'm pretty sure not all these guys are world class. I would go as far as saying an av of 20 on WI pitches would equal 40 on Aus pitches. My nonna could take wickets bowling offies in the Caribbean.

  • on March 29, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    i agree with alecbraae they need to keep Cowan and Lyon and batting watson at 3 will be better then shaun marsh at least if watson fails with the bat he can make up for it with the ball here is the team id like to see play the 1st test 1. Warner 2. Cowan 3. Watson 4. Ponting 5. Clarke 6. Hussey 7. Nevill 8 Siddle 9. Hilfenhaus 10 Pattinson 11. Lyon im saying Peter Nevill cus he is a better keeper then Matthew Wade

  • on March 29, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    What happens after watto gets injured after the first test ??? :)

  • RandyOZ on March 29, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    You know the fast bowling talent runs deep when you are leaving out one of the top 5 bowlers in the world. Hows Cummins coming along?

  • PDTM on March 29, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    @VivGilchrist, you obviously haven't seen OKeefe play this season, ordinary at best. Who would suggest leaving Pattinson out? Hilfenhaus and Pattinson are new ball bowlers, Siddle and Watson are good with the old ball, and Lyon is a good enough spinner. Watson's bowling is what earns him a place in the team, I would be happy with 30s and 40s to soften the ball up for a good middle order, and then take wickets like he has been doing. Cowan's patience should cash in against an inconsistent Windies bowling attack. Although he will struggle against Narine is WI find enough money to pay him.

  • Meety on March 29, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - would of loved SO'K in the mix, but his last Shield season was a bit average. I think if you went with SO'K - he would have to bat #7 & Wade @ #6.

  • Simoc on March 29, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    OKeefe is not in the team and wouldn't make a second or third XI for either batting, bowling. His only saving grace is being from NSW. Watson is a capable 3 but the best bat is Clarke and he should be there. My line up would see Watson open with Warner, with Forrest at 3. He's done it all to date this season so might as well keep him earning his dough in the hotspot. He looks to be a quick capable learner. Harris has been excellent for Australia but for injuries.Three quicks and Clarke as the second spinner. The Australian team don't have the greatest lineup as compared to England or South Africa and only Ponting / Clarke partnerships and a Warner gem beat the Indians. They will need to be fully switched on to beat the West Indies. And we see Englands best ever lineup falling in a pathetic heap four tests in a row now. Can't see Australia ever falling into that spinner trap that the Engish just can't handle.

  • on March 29, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    I feel Shane Watto shud open with Warner and e cowan can come in at 3. As 4 the bowling, harris is a better bet than pattinson bcoz he cannot reverse swing in the carribean and hilf has been more of a condition reliant bowler. Heres my line up- 1.Watson 2.Warner 3.Cowan 4.Clarke 5.Ponting 6.M Hussey 7.Wade 8.R Harris 9. Lyon 10.Siddle 11.Beer

  • alexbraae on March 29, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    I just hope they persist with Lyon and Cowan.

  • zenboomerang on March 29, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Think Harris himself has already explained quite well why he isn't a top 3 pick at present & if Oz go with a 2+2 bowling attack (unlikely) then even Hilfy would miss out... "If" Oz wanted a 2nd spinner I'd prefer David Hussey in the team, but which player would you drop?... Watsons batting has been poor in the last year, but his bowling has continued to improve, making him a v.g. 5th bowler & the conditions should suit him... Still don't think Watto is a no.3 batman - the best in this team?... Surely Ponting, Clarke, Hussey are superior batsmen to him...

  • VivGilchrist on March 29, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    I would include Harris. The pitches are similar to those in SL and he was the pick of the pacemen over there. I don't think two spinners would work for us unless one were an all-rounder, but as both bat no11 our tail would be way to long and to drop a quick places to many overs on Watto. OKeefe batting at 7 and playing 3 quicks and Lyon would have been the only way in my opinion.

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  • VivGilchrist on March 29, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    I would include Harris. The pitches are similar to those in SL and he was the pick of the pacemen over there. I don't think two spinners would work for us unless one were an all-rounder, but as both bat no11 our tail would be way to long and to drop a quick places to many overs on Watto. OKeefe batting at 7 and playing 3 quicks and Lyon would have been the only way in my opinion.

  • zenboomerang on March 29, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Think Harris himself has already explained quite well why he isn't a top 3 pick at present & if Oz go with a 2+2 bowling attack (unlikely) then even Hilfy would miss out... "If" Oz wanted a 2nd spinner I'd prefer David Hussey in the team, but which player would you drop?... Watsons batting has been poor in the last year, but his bowling has continued to improve, making him a v.g. 5th bowler & the conditions should suit him... Still don't think Watto is a no.3 batman - the best in this team?... Surely Ponting, Clarke, Hussey are superior batsmen to him...

  • alexbraae on March 29, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    I just hope they persist with Lyon and Cowan.

  • on March 29, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    I feel Shane Watto shud open with Warner and e cowan can come in at 3. As 4 the bowling, harris is a better bet than pattinson bcoz he cannot reverse swing in the carribean and hilf has been more of a condition reliant bowler. Heres my line up- 1.Watson 2.Warner 3.Cowan 4.Clarke 5.Ponting 6.M Hussey 7.Wade 8.R Harris 9. Lyon 10.Siddle 11.Beer

  • Simoc on March 29, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    OKeefe is not in the team and wouldn't make a second or third XI for either batting, bowling. His only saving grace is being from NSW. Watson is a capable 3 but the best bat is Clarke and he should be there. My line up would see Watson open with Warner, with Forrest at 3. He's done it all to date this season so might as well keep him earning his dough in the hotspot. He looks to be a quick capable learner. Harris has been excellent for Australia but for injuries.Three quicks and Clarke as the second spinner. The Australian team don't have the greatest lineup as compared to England or South Africa and only Ponting / Clarke partnerships and a Warner gem beat the Indians. They will need to be fully switched on to beat the West Indies. And we see Englands best ever lineup falling in a pathetic heap four tests in a row now. Can't see Australia ever falling into that spinner trap that the Engish just can't handle.

  • Meety on March 29, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - would of loved SO'K in the mix, but his last Shield season was a bit average. I think if you went with SO'K - he would have to bat #7 & Wade @ #6.

  • PDTM on March 29, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    @VivGilchrist, you obviously haven't seen OKeefe play this season, ordinary at best. Who would suggest leaving Pattinson out? Hilfenhaus and Pattinson are new ball bowlers, Siddle and Watson are good with the old ball, and Lyon is a good enough spinner. Watson's bowling is what earns him a place in the team, I would be happy with 30s and 40s to soften the ball up for a good middle order, and then take wickets like he has been doing. Cowan's patience should cash in against an inconsistent Windies bowling attack. Although he will struggle against Narine is WI find enough money to pay him.

  • RandyOZ on March 29, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    You know the fast bowling talent runs deep when you are leaving out one of the top 5 bowlers in the world. Hows Cummins coming along?

  • on March 29, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    What happens after watto gets injured after the first test ??? :)

  • on March 29, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    i agree with alecbraae they need to keep Cowan and Lyon and batting watson at 3 will be better then shaun marsh at least if watson fails with the bat he can make up for it with the ball here is the team id like to see play the 1st test 1. Warner 2. Cowan 3. Watson 4. Ponting 5. Clarke 6. Hussey 7. Nevill 8 Siddle 9. Hilfenhaus 10 Pattinson 11. Lyon im saying Peter Nevill cus he is a better keeper then Matthew Wade