Ryan Harris versus Lillee’s bag o’ bairns

Posted by
< 1 minute read

It’s been suggested that this could be Ryan Harris’s last Test. He’s scheduled to have a load of loose knobbles and flakes of bone dug out of his crappy knee shortly after it finishes. Although he’s then got seven months or so to recuperate before Australia’s next Test, he hasn’t actually got many opportunities to prove his form and fitness. The Australian cricket team might move on.

Dennis Lillee, angling for an improved contract with Cricket Australia, is currently talking up the younger bowlers (and therefore himself), but that talk doesn’t actually equate to wickets. We’ve been here before. Australia have had plenty of promising bowlers for quite some time now, but there’s a gap between being capable of performing in Tests and doing so consistently.

We’re not saying Lillee’s bag o’ bairns are bad bowlers or that they won’t become top Test bowlers one day. We’re just saying that it’s wrong to be blasé about the potential loss of a bowler like Harris, acting like you’ve got readymade replacements and it’s no big deal.

Ryan Harris is currently on 96 Test wickets, incidentally.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. If 43-year-old Brad Hogg can still get in the Aussie squad, there’s hope for us all. Even the animated bag of bones that is Ryan Harris.

  2. hey, check out what roshan mahanama had to say in fining warner (a paltry 15% of his match fee):

    “It was disrespectful for David to publicly denigrate an opponent when commenting on a match-related incident, and imply that a South African player was engaging in sharp practice. I’m sure David will be careful when making public comments in future.”


  3. Australia do need a succession plan. The current attack except for Lyon are all in their 30s (and in fairness, Lyon looks 40). The investment in players such as Johnson is obvious. So whether Ryan Harris plays one more, or ten more, or twenty more Tests, Australia is still a fair distance from developing the top tier player that they’re replacing.

    Though they could further. Of the younger players that they’ve drafted in over the past 4 years, they’ve had a few that they liked. Bird has been tidy for his three. Pattinson has moments of genuine industry and has very good figures from 12 Tests. Both are on the current tour.

    Mitchell Starc has been promising if often a bit average. Even then, in 5 to 10 years he’ll probably be quite convincing.

    There’s also that other one, Pat Cummins, the Alfa Romeo of Australian cricket. There was that spectacularly auspicious debut and a reasonable effort in the World T20, but he is still waiting for the month in which he can claim to have played two first class games in a row without shattering some essential part of his body. In one or two years he might be hurtling towards outer space again, but that time is many Ryan Harris wickets away.

    And so it goes that the main problem for Australia has been the injuries; the pace attack Australia tends to settle upon is one that isn’t injured. That’s why the indestructible Johnson was only ever one phone call away from a comeback. Peter Siddle’s fitness focus is also renowned. It just seems like any team can rely on a bowler who trains like he’s an endurance runner. It’s strange however to think that Ryan Harris remains at the top on the context of fitness, but he has such value and respect that players would probably willingly give up their spot to let him come back from injury.

    But it’s been niggles that shut the door on Hilfenhaus and Bollinger; and neither has been exactly dry on form lately. It seems Australia has anointed James Faulkner for the future; and again, this is probably more because of his ability to show up than because of pace or seam position, though in fairness he shows up with his own bat, and what team turns that guy down?

    But on the whole, the players Australia is looking to are younger than 24 (and that includes Faulkner). If one is overwhelmed by 24 year olds who are first choice picks for their countries, then one has a poor tolerance for such things, or is possibly allergic.

    So it goes back to the Johnson example. After 3 years of playing ODIs, he wasn’t totally useless, then maybe a couple of years later we could say he wasn’t totally useless at Tests either. Nine years after international debut, there’s some consensus that he’s really fucking good at what he does. So you have to start looking early, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have a perfect Test quality player just because you cleared a space for him. That’s the exact mistake CA made when they pushed Hayden out in favour of Hughes, or even when they tried to retire Haddin. Indeed, it’s the mistake they made in redesigning the 2nd XI competition around under-23 year olds.

    1. What a comprehensive comment and an excellent final point which really gets to the heart of what we’re saying. Australia’s desire to rush into ‘the future’ has been shown to be foolish time and again in recent years.

      They just need to let the future come to them. It will. But even then there’s no reason to be happy about it.

    2. Australia’s (*) problem was that The Future came at them all in one go, and when they were overwhelmed by it (as many teams would be) their response was to head straight back to The Past. So they have a team full of schoolboys and pensioners, and hardly anything in between. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Ian Bell, James Anderson, Stuart Broad – all these players are between 27 and 31 years old and have more than 7 years’ test experience. These are the players their teams are built around now, and are also the players of the immediate future. Australia has Johnson, Siddle and Watson of similar age and experience, but they’ve chopped and changed them so much they couldn’t build a wendy house around them, let alone a test team.

      (*) It’s worth saying that England look set to go down the same route right now, with their shiny ECB-issue new broom.

    3. >> It’s worth saying that England look set to go down the same route right now, with their shiny ECB-issue new broom.

      This young Lumb chappie seems to be having a good debut. One for the future, eh?

    1. Love watching them, but this guy Asghar Stanikzai played the worst ODI innings I have ever seen yesterday. 40 of 91 balls. It was just so frustrating watching him. He pretty much won the match for Pakistan. One of those occasions when an Akmal fuck up (he missed stumping him) was good for Pakistan.

Comments are closed.