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News

Marcus Harris realistic over short-term Test hopes but has sights on 2023 Ashes

The left hander is currently showing strong form for Gloucestershire after losing his Australia spot last season

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
10-May-2022
Marcus Harris was making his Gloucestershire debut, Gloucestershire vs Yorkshire, LV= Insurance County Championship division one, 1st day, Bristol, April 14, 2022

Marcus Harris has shown impressive form in England  •  PA Images via Getty Images

Marcus Harris is on a 12-month mission to press his case for next year's Ashes series in England but is realistic that it may be some time before there is a vacancy for him to return to Australia's Test side.
Harris was the fall guy to accommodate Usman Khawaja's stunning return to Test cricket after his twin centuries in Sydney made him undroppable. The selectors' solution was to promote Khawaja to open alongside David Warner which meant Harris became surplus to requirements just two games after a vital 76 on a tricky pitch at the MCG.
Khawaja's brilliant form continued through the Pakistan tour where he was Player of the Series and the combination with Warner would appear set in stone for some time barring injury, although with both aged 35 it may not stretch a long way into the future.
Harris, who missed out on the Sheffield Shield final for Victoria when he caught Covid on his return from Pakistan, is currently playing county cricket for Gloucestershire where he has made two centuries in four matches and next month will be part of the Australia A squad in Sri Lanka having dropped out of the main group.
"With the way things have gone recently, obviously last summer having fallen out of the side, Uz to his credit has gone really well and Davey is still going well, I'm aware that I'm not going to be opening the batting for Australia for a little while," Harris told RSN radio.
"But by being over here and playing, then going to Sri Lanka in a couple of weeks, hopefully having played a lot of cricket by the time the Ashes rolls around next year I'll be front of mind for selection…I'd love to be playing in that series but there's a bit of water to go under the bridge before then."
Harris played three Tests of the 2019 Ashes but, as with Warner, had his technique picked apart from the round-the-wicket attack of England's quicks and made just 58 runs in six innings. He was dropped for the following home season before making a comeback in the final Test against India at the Gabba in 2020-21. He retained his place after Australia's long absence from the format to play the first four matches against England last season.
He added that the selectors have been really clear with him over where he stands and that he is a victim of circumstance rather than anything he has failed to do. With that in mind, and having carried the drinks as the spare batter in Pakistan, he views it as a potential benefit to be involved with the Australia A squad instead which means he is far more likely to get time in the middle.
"That was the messaging from Bails [national selector George Bailey], that…they haven't changed what their view is of me," Harris said. "But like I said to Bails, I'd rather play the Australia A series, then come back to England, rather than running drinks knowing I probably won't play with it being a two-Test series. It's probably worked out better for me not being in the squad."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo