Steve Harmison has one day to bowl his way back

If there’s one thing England need more than anything else, it’s a fast bowler. If there’s one thing Steve Harmison isn’t at the moment, it’s a fast bowler.

The good news for Harmison is that nobody else is either, so all he really needs to address is that ‘at the moment’ part.

Steve Harmison celebrates hitting 84mphSome might say that the pitches for the recent Test series were unusually flat and that ordinarily you don’t need a fast bowler in Test cricket. We’d say the fact that the pitches were unusually flat only magnified the need for a fast bowler. Test pitches are always pretty flat.

But Harmison’s shown few signs of recovering pace and hostility over the winter, content to bowl fairly accurately at 82mph, which is hardly the point of Steve Harmison. Having run out of wrists to slap, Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss have dropped him down below an injured Ryan Sidebottom and a previously untested Amjad Khan in the pecking order.

With only two Tests before the Ashes and no chance of a recall – as that would render the kick up the arse of his dropping into yet another meaningless temporary exile – it’s impossible to see a way back for the lolloping ganglatron of mental fragility.

Yet in true English fashion, we’ve overlooked the one-dayers. England are highly likely to pick the hunchbacked spindlester for these, so he’s got a chance. While he’s widely thought to be no better than competent at one-day cricket, this overlooks the fact that by far the most influential bowling of his career took place in pyjamas.

No, not in his dreams – delete that comment and write something else. We’re referring to just prior to the 2005 Ashes in Bristol. Harmison dismissed Australia’s top four (Gilchrist, Hayden, Ponting and Martyn) to reduce Australia to 63-4 and then returned to clean bowl Mike Hussey, finishing with 5-33.

That, as much as the Lord’s bloodshedding that followed, scared the Aussie batsmen, who never fully recovered. Harmison should ask himself whether the Aussies are scared of him now. And he should answer honestly.

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5 Appeals

  1. The only way Harmison is going to scare the Aussies now is by sneaking up behind them and simultaneously grabbing their shoulders and shouting boo.

    Perhaps he can try it while he’s fielding.

  2. One of English cricket’s biggest problems over the past million years is that they have consistently picked a team structure, then tried to find and/or shoe-horn players into it. If you have a good fast bowler, pick him. If you don’t, don’t try to pretend that you do.

    You can use the counties, the academy and the A-team to try to mould players to fit any gaps you might have, but if you are trying to do it in the first test of the Ashes, it’s too late.

  3. when was hoggard last seen?
    i fear for him. is there a campaign? he deserves a campaign. or at least a petition. or a stuffy letter to someone in charge.
    they really should try and find him. i’m going to start looking.

    unless this is a masterplan, where england faff around, losing all over the shop, not mentioning mr hoggard, just chaotically ambling around the caribbean, and then the dawn of the ashes arrives, and matthew hoggard is wheeled out and unveiled in all his glory and wreaks havoc with the aussie top order.
    we should show more faith in the ecb.
    i mean, that’s genius.

  4. Eva, I’ve been campaigning to elevate Hoggard as Captain for some years now.

    I suppose that, if he’s to captain the England side, it helps that he’s not dropped from it.

  5. Campaigning for YEARS? and still nothing?
    WHEN will they give the people what they want?
    Its like losing a puppy.
    Except that no-one cares, and no-one’s put up any posters.
    What if he’s trapped somewhere?
    They should make him captain anyway. As a gesture.
    They can’t just stop him being captain because they dropped him. That’s discrimination.
    Plus, South Africa get away with doing that. I mean making dropped players captain. Not discrimination.

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