You got your wish Steve, you won’t be

Steve Harmison’s 7 for 12 against West Indies

touring Australia on the next Ashes.

And you won’t be wandering around with the drinks in South Africa this winter Mr. Harmison, just what you wanted.

Steve Harmison once in a space of 12 and a half overs, with 8 maidens, took 7 wickets for only 12 runs conceded, it got him to the, well deserved, top spot in the Test bowling rankings…

…he also took 6 wickets for 19 runs against Pakistan.

He helped England win two Ashes series, well he helped them win one back in ’05, when that first morning at Lord’s set the scene as he helped pummel the Aussie batsmen. Yes England lost that first test but it set a mark and it put a bit of fear into the Aussie batsmen that hadn’t happened for a long time. He was around for this last victory picking up some cheap wickets, but where as England were skittled at Headingley Harmison didn’t exactly run through their top and middle order.

So that’s best bowler in the world, great spells running through teams, couple of Ashes series victories, 226 wickets in 63 Test matches but what do you remember, what do you think of when someone mentions the name Steve Harmison? Yes that ball…

…that ball the first of the 2006/07 Ashes series, a ball that defined that series and in a way defines Harmison.

A faster bowler with all the attributes, height pace, aggression, to be the best but when you come down to it more often that not you got rubbish like that first ball, allied to the arrogance we’ve seen with regards the choice of touring squads to South Africa. Not only did he want to pick and choose which tours he will or won’t go on but when he is picked to tour he has to be guaranteed his first XI place.

Some people could get away with that, though of course they shouldn’t, but someone who has done so little over the last few years to justify a call up as Harmison should be laughed all the way out of extending his England career.

For a man with all the talent unfortunately a few things were missing, fight, heart, guts, balls and brains, if he had them then he could have been the best ever. If he had a few of those you could have talked about him in the same breath as the great West Indies fast bowlers who terrorised teams from the mid 70s to the mid 90s. But no he isn’t anywhere near the class of Marshall, Roberts, Holding, Garner, Walsh, Ambrose, etc etc. not good enough to lace their boots. Could have been a contender…

No what we got from Harmison increasingly over the years was just enough, actually most of the time it wasn’t even that much. What we got was nothing performance after nothing performance, guaranteed of his place he didn’t have to bother and rarely did. Then whispers would start, why is he being picked when he’s done bugger all of late, lets try someone new with a bit of hunger, then surprise, surprise a good game, a five wicket haul, “See I shouldn’t be dropped”. A performance he would then live off for the next, well it was usually a year, so one decent outing a year but still guaranteed his spot.

But maybe getting dropped would up his game, well he went back to his beloved club performed well but did it look like he was really trying any harder when recalled and then to say he’ll only tour if he is guaranteed his place shows the mentality. Yes he may offer more with the ball than those chosen ahead of him, say Sidebottom, for example but whereas one would run through a wall to represent his country after being given a second chance Harmison seems of the opinion that once he’s there he does really have to bother anymore.

Added to that the fact he’s a homesick crybaby tourist it really was time for the selectors to call it a day. Thanks, next…

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