Ready or not England here I come, says Ryan Harris

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Harris has vowed not to let his injury get the better of him

Australia pace bowler Ryan Harris has had his share of bad luck over the past year, but the 33-year-old has sent a warning message to England ahead of their highly anticipated Ashes encounter, which gets underway in just four days.

The Achilles injury he sustained during the Indian Premier League (IPL) would have had Test captain Michael Clarke and Cricket Australia holding their breaths over whether he would recover in time for the Ashes, but the Queensland seamer vowed not to miss the historic series.

Harris’ inclusion will also allow Clarke to breathe a sigh of relief as the pace bowler is one of the more experienced players in the side.

“I’m looking forward to playing and can’t wait to get out there and get back into bowling, not Twenty20 style bowling but proper bowling, and getting into good spells,” Harris said. “Hopefully bowling 20-30 overs would be nice. Leaving India wasn’t ideal, but getting home and getting the treatment I needed, the Achilles actually reacted really well to treatment, so coming over here and being able to bowl lots and lots of balls in the nets has been great. In saying that I’ve just about had a gut-full of that, I’m ready to bowl in games.

“In regards to my rehab, this is the reason why you have to get through and get back and rehab and do all the stuff. I wanted to be here in an Ashes series in England, and I want to play the one in Australia if things go to plan.

“They’re the things that keep you going. And love of playing the game as well that’s what’s keeps you going. ‘You’re a long time retired,’ that’s what I keep being told, so there are a lot of gym sessions and stuff where I woke up in the morning and didn’t want to go but had to go, had to get strong. This is the reason why – I wanted to be here for the Ashes.”

Despite his numerous injuries, the national selectors seem unable to drop Harris as his Test record of 47 wickets in 12 matches, at an average of 23.63, continues to mesmerise them.

Having been blessed with the ability to swing the ball both ways and get a lot of skid of the pitch, Harris has quite rightly earned the respect of numerous cricket pundits and former players, many of which compare him to South Africa’s pace spearhead Dale Steyn or England pace maestro James Anderson.

While many fans and pundits will be interested to see who wins the battle between Harris and Anderson, the Australian quickie noted he only has the desire of bringing home the coveted urn, which England have retained over the past two Ashes series.

“I wouldn’t say he’s the benchmark,” Harris said of Anderson. “He’s consistent and been so over the past couple of years, which puts him up there as one of the best in the world and he probably deserves that title. But our attack, we’ve got a very good attack if not better. We’ve got good pace and when the boys get it right we’ve got good consistency. James Pattinson has come back, he’s been bowling unbelievably well and fast during the trial games.

“Peter Siddle’s doing the same, Mitchell Starc he’s another one – he’s come back from injury and if he goes anywhere near what he was doing last summer, which I’m hoping, [Alastair] Cook will find it very tough facing him with those big thunderbolts going away from him. Our attack is suited for these conditions and we’ve got one of the best attacks in the world over here.

“The camaraderie [among the bowlers] is excellent. We’re all good mates. If we have to rest someone or if someone does go down, touch wood they don’t, but the guy who is stepping in can do the same sort of job. We’ve spent a lot of time together so we know each other very well. We hang out and eat dinner together and talk about the game together which is really good. I think it’s a really healthy relationship.”

A majority of the cricket pundits and former players have also announced that they expect England to whitewash Australia 5-0 in the upcoming series and Harris admitted that they had every right to say so, given the national team’s Test record over the past six months.

However, he also sent a message to all the critics, stating that Australia should not be underestimated, especially when so much is at stake.

“We’re not worried about that sort of stuff we’re going to cop that we haven’t played good cricket in the past six months,” Harris conceded. “We know that.

“We’re here to play good cricket, that’s why the Australia A team have been here, the Champions Trophy boys have had enough training in these conditions. We came here and acclimatised to these conditions early and that’s all we can do. If we go out there and don’t play our best cricket, we’ll get beaten. If we play our best cricket we’ll win.”

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