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News

'It's going to be pretty bloody hard' - Harris

Ryan Harris said he will decide if he is ready to play the Adelaide Test after attending team-mate Phillip Hughes' funeral

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
02-Dec-2014
'I'm going to have to work it out when we get to Adelaide and see how I feel' - Ryan Harris  •  Getty Images

'I'm going to have to work it out when we get to Adelaide and see how I feel' - Ryan Harris  •  Getty Images

Ryan Harris bowled sixty balls at Queensland training on Tuesday. Not a single one was a bouncer.
While this was primarily so he could hone issues of rhythm and technique, Harris' reluctance to send down a short ball spoke much for the changes wrought to cricket by the death of Phillip Hughes. So did the fact that two days out from what would have been day one of the Gabba Test, Harris was at Allan Border Field in his state colours.
Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and company must wrestle with one of the many awfully mixed emotions arising from Hughes' death. They have been reminded of the destructive power of the bouncer, reeled at this fact, and yet must eventually find a way to harness it again. It will take time.
"It's inevitable it's going to happen - I've been bowling bouncers for a long time and I've hit guys before," Harris said in Brisbane. "It's part of the game but it just gives you that extra bit of doubt now about a very small percentage of what happened. I'm sure we'll get back eventually to the way we were playing last summer, but it's going to be tough because we base our game on aggression."
That question will take longer to answer than a more immediate one, around who will consider themselves fit to play in the first Test in Adelaide from December 9. Harris has experienced this dilemma before, when his mother Gai died of lung cancer in 2006. Even so, he remains unsure of when he will be ready.
"I'm still thinking about it, I'll see how I go tomorrow," Harris said of Hughes' funeral in Macksville. "Every individual is different. Personally I've lost my mother before and the best thing for me was I was probably pushed to play for my father and my brother and it probably helped. But even still, it's going to be tough for some boys. It's going to be tough for me.
"I'm going to have to work it out when we get to Adelaide and see how I feel. I feel good having been out today, which was good. Keeping busy this morning has allowed me not to sit around and think about tomorrow, to be honest. Each individual is different. The boys who were there and witnessed what happened … I can't speak for them because I couldn't imagine what they're going through."
There will be a lot of love, a lot of pain and a lot of shared memory of Hughes at his funeral in on Wednesday. Harris and his Australian team-mates are all making the trip, mainly via an overnight stay in Sydney on Tuesday. Many of their eyes will be on their captain Michael Clarke, who will continue to carry a significant burden of friendship and leadership by speaking during the service.
"We want him playing. He's our captain and our leader and through this whole thing he's shown why he is," Harris said. "He's hurting and he's had a lot to deal with, he's been just unbelievable. We've had some good chats as a group the last few days and he's just been fantastic. So we want him there, but we'll see how it goes.
"We'd have liked a bit longer but that's just reality. There's a Test series on and there's games to be played. That's what we have to do. Those who can prepare will and those who can't will need more time. It's a 50/50 but the bottom line is we've got a date to work to now. The idea was we had a chat yesterday and we just wanted a date to work towards. Some guys can and some guys may not be able to.
"Let's just get past tomorrow first. It's going to be pretty bloody hard. The thing about this is that no-one knows. No-one's been in the situation of losing a teammate and a very good mate and trying to play a cricket game less than a week later. No-one's been in that situation. We'll get through tomorrow, see how we all feel and get to Adelaide and regroup."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig