Ian Joseph Harvey
April 10, 1972, Wonthaggi, Victoria
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Wonthaggi Technical College
Ian Harvey possesses one of the wickedest slower balls in the business, a gift that has earned him messiah-like status in English domestic ranks but gone largely unrecognised back home. In 73 one-day internationals, accumulated in ten countries across seven years, he has never hit a half-century nor taken a five-for, nor truly guaranteed himself a regular spot in pyjamas. He clubs a few runs here and nails the odd wicket there while going for around five an over, which is better than it sounds given that he bowls always in the rush hour. In England, however, Harvey's handy yorker, shock bumper, skidding bounce and flotilla of slower variations have earned him nationwide esteem. He has been instrumental in turning perennial stragglers Gloucestershire, who have never won a County Championship, into the nation's one-day wonders. Five years of hard winter yakka culminated in him being named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in 2004. David Foot, seldom prone to hyperbole, concluded: "Few imports have ever been so influential." Almost as an aside, Harvey is a heavy-hitting lower-order bat who in 2003 became the first centurion in England's revolutionary Twenty20 Cup.
Harvey took up cricket at 14 and a few summers later found himself at the Academy, where he was dubbed "The Freak". He finally lived up to that nickname in 2003's TVS Cup final, materialising from nowhere to take 4 for 21 and puncture a promising Indian run-chase. A useful spare-parts man in the 2003 World Cup, he was dumped for the final. He lost his one-day spot in 2004 and left behind international cricket to settle overseas, playing county cricket and also having a season in South Africa with Cape Cobras. However, his application for British Citizenship, to allow him to play for Derbyshire as a non-overseas player, hit a brick wall in 2007 due to a drink-driving conviction and he faced up to the prospect of an early end to his career. With nowhere to go, Harvey signed on with the unofficial Indian Cricket League's Chennai franchise, the Superstars, and played a starring role (he was Player of the Series) in the team's lifting of the inaugural Twenty20 title. Harvey returned for a second season as well and continued to shine with bat and ball.
Christian Ryan March 2008
Batting & Fielding