Harmison postpones retirement plans, vows to bounce back

Posted By: Staff

London, Oct.15 (ANI): Axed England and Durham fast bowler Steve Harmison has postponed plans on Test retirement and vowed to regain his spot in the national squad.

Stung by accusations that he would allegedly tour South Africa this winter only if he was a first-choice England pick, Harmison emerged from a week of brooding to tell Mirror Sport he has shelved any plans about stepping down from the international stage.

The Durham pace bowler, who has 226 Test wickets, was furious when it was used an excuse to drop him.

Harmison said: "I am less angry about being left out of the squad than I am about the reasons for it. There was no ultimatum from me - nobody has a divine right to play for England and I have never demanded a guaranteed place. I'm not going to retire from Test cricket in case some people think it's a knee-jerk reaction to being dropped and I'm throwing my toys out of the pram. That would only give them ammunition to sling more mud at me."

"More than anything I'm confused, because I had several chats with the coach, Andy Flower, while the one-day side was in South Africa at the Champions Trophy and our discussions were positive. He asked me how I would react if I was left out of the side for the opening couple of Tests and I told him I was prepared to fight for my place like anybody else," he added.

"After all, I have not been in the England side at the start of the last two seasons but I've managed to force my way back in, so I'm no stranger to that," Harmison said.

Harmy's rocket may not have matched his record 96.8mph delivery against the West Indies five years ago - the fastest ball by an Englishman - for ballistic value, but there is no mistaking the hurt behind it.

Of modern fast bowlers, only Devon Malcolm has been treated as such an expendable weapon by the wise men at Lord's.

Harmison, 30, supplied the final flourish of three wickets in 13 balls as England clinched the Ashes at The Oval 53 days ago, a burst which moved him into our top 10 Test bowlers of all time.

And after waving his big mate Freddie Flintoff into the sunset of Test retirement, Harmison resolved to put superannuation on hold if England wanted him.

"What I did say, and I was only being honest, is that I was not sure whether my body would withstand the rigours of another year's non-stop cricket," said Harmison.

"That is not the same thing as saying, 'I don't want to go to Australia'. And for a fast bowler, that's looking a long way ahead when you've got to try and beat South Africa in their backyard," he added. (ANI)

Story first published: Thursday, October 15, 2009, 15:20 [IST]
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