Friday, 19 December 2008

England must keep the faith, for now at least

After being dropped in New Zealand last winter many thought Steve Harmison had played his last game for England. But he responded magnificiently for Durham; and, had England recalled him earlier, the Test series against South Africa could conceivably have ended differently. Indicative of his new-found zest for playing for England, he even reversed his decision to retire from ODIs - the single act which had most enraged his critics, led by Bob Willis.

Yet in the four months since his recall, Harmison has already managed to be dropped from the ODI and Test side alike. However, it would be grossly premature to say he is in an equally grim position to in New Zealand. His performance in the last Test was respectable enough, save for suffering at the brilliant Virender Sehwag's hands (and how different the game would have been had Sehwag not been dropped of Harmison's bowling). I would have sooner dropped James Anderson, enduring yet another miserable tour.

In the West Indies, Harmison remains almost certain to play in the first Test. It was there five years ago that he begun his meteoric rise to the world number one spot. For all his faults, he remains England's most fearsome quick when at his best (save perhaps for Simon Jones). England must keep the faith, for the series in the Caribbean at least. Ultimately, Australia's opening batsmen would much sooner line up against Anderson or even Broad than a revved-up Harmison.


Penguinissimo said...

I'm not too fussed about Harmison being dropped, precisely because it is guaranteed that he will play in the West Indies.

This is a horses for courses selection, and I think it is the right one. Broad is more accurate, and so on pitches where toil rather than inspiration is required he's going to get better results than Harmy.

He'll be back.

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