Steve Harmison dropped

Harmison perfecting the hangdog lookThe graph doesn’t lie. Steve Harmison’s performances have been deteriorating for ages now. There wasn’t going to be an upturn.

Last week Allan Donald revealed that Harmison had been scared while playing for England. There have been a lot of similar stories over the last year or so and they just seemed to be getting worse.

Sportsmen have to have confidence in their ability and Harmison hasn’t got this. The support of the coaches and selectors might even have been counterproductive. You can only build someone up when you’ve got something to build on. Harmison’s far from stupid and maybe he didn’t feel he justified this faith.

Without faith in himself, well-meaning words from others will have just made him feel like a fraud. He knew when he’d bowled badly and if Allan Donald, Ottis Gibson (what’s with the extra consonants?) or Peter Moores said he was improving or somesuch, he’d have seen through them.

The only way Harmison could have felt like he belonged in that England team was if he felt like he’d earned his place – and that was the one thing he didn’t feel.

Perhaps this all harks back to his initial emergence as an international cricketer. Duncan Fletcher requested pace and chose bowlers based on that attribute over all others, hoping to refine the players in question once they were in the England team. These players, of which Harmison is the most notable, to a large extent learned their trade while playing for England. Did they ever feel that they’d earned their places?

Contrast this with players such as Mike Hussey and Phil Jaques of Australia. These are players who have overachieved in domestic cricket for many years. When finally given their opportunity, they have no doubt whatsoever that they are there on merit and they have faith in their own ability as a consequence.

We’re not saying that Harmison never deserved to be an international cricketer, because he unquestionably did, if you look back (albeit a fair way now). We’re just saying that when things stopped going his way, he questioned himself and there weren’t any answers.

We dearly hope that Harmison goes back to Durham intending to win his England place back, because if he can achieve that, he’ll know he’s earned his spot and he might be a different bowler as a consequence.

It takes time to convince people though – especially yourself. Harmison should consider himself discarded by England for good. If he comes back to make an unarguable case from there, he should feel pretty confident.

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12 Appeals

  1. Think all England’s test matches should be played at Chester-le-Street from now on – that way Harmy is on home territory and part at least of his problem removed and I can go to me mam’s for tea after the match

  2. i thought it was the batting that would put snail to shame was the problem…remember someone said the it was not test match pitch very flat and no life…

    and now we hear its the bowler where the problem was…

    they have lost all their nuts i think…

    everytime i try, nuts off…

  3. The batting was poor, Straight Points, but it’s worth remembering that when The England went out to bat, they were 470 runs behind.

    The bowlers let the batsmen down, and we reverted to type and tried to bat for a draw. Very rarely does this actually work.

    I don’t believe Australia would have done the same thing. They would have tried to hammer 500 runs, and put them under pressure in the second innings.
    The England need to react in the same way, if we’re ever going to compete with Australia in the long term.

  4. King Cricket

    March 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Or with New Zealand in the short term.

  5. suave…

    infact bowlers did goo job in second innings and cut the lead by 250 odd…if you can not fantom your chances for 250 odd runs even if in fourth innings then problems lies somewhere else than bowling…specially with the team looking for no.2 spot if not 1…

  6. two bowlers did a good job.. Ryan Sidebottom and Panesar..

    Harmison only got four overs.

    Hoggard finished 1-151.

    New Zealand were also batting for a declaration, which makes you bat more freely.

    No-one has ever chased more than 212 on that pitch in the fourth innings, so it’s a common issue.

    If the bowlers hadn’t conceded nigh on 500 runs in the first innings, there would not have been this problem.

  7. Bugger Harmison, the more alarming news is that Sri Lanka have dropped Jayasuriya for their West Indies tour. I seriously hope they’re just resting him like they are Murali.

  8. Pontings_baldspot

    March 12, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Think its time Jayasuriya just retire, instead of humiliating himself.. he was forced to retire once already.. While Harmison’s out looking for heart in Durham, Broad should do well especially now with Flintoff not in the park firing the batsmen up before they face Broad.. (think Yuvraj)

  9. i am not sure about forth innings avg of 212 coz this time pitch was really good…and if fourth innings stats are considered every time you go on chase then why go and bat out there…

    what i meant to say batsmen for all the protection given to them can crawl…but bowlers however good they have been doing cant even have one bad day…or innings??

  10. Forget Harmy and Hoggy’s woes – Nellie got dropped after being made Man-of the Match! Has cricket got a screw loose?

  11. Pontings_baldspot

    March 13, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Reverse Racism!!!! Its the Southern Hemisphere for crying out loud!!!!

  12. sometimes you read, or hear comments that are clearly ill thought through or just pointless. for example…. reverse racism?….. the reverse of racism….so this is not being racist then is it? i struggle to see how not being racist can be lauded as a problem. surely it is what we strive towards in both the southern and northern hemispheres, both in cricket and life in general.

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