My knee problems have had an impact on my self-confidence, admits Ryan Harris

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“It’s getting to the stage where it’s catching a lot more and clicking a lot more, there’s all those fragments in there that are giving me the s***s”

Australia pace bowler Ryan Harris has admitted that his knee problems have had a direct impact on his self-confidence in the ongoing Test series against South Africa.

Harris, who will undergo surgery after the Test series, has only managed to take three wickets at a dismal average of 74.33 in the first two Tests.

“It’s getting to the stage where it’s catching a lot more and clicking a lot more, there’s all those fragments in there that are giving me the s***s,” Harris said. “But I’ll push through this game, hopefully bowl better and get it fixed it up in a week and a half or two weeks. I think I’ll be fine to play body-wise, it’s just whether or not form-wise I’m going alright. Three wickets at 74 is not great at the moment, and it’s a big Test.

“So it’s obviously up to Darren [Lehmann], Michael [Clarke] and John [Inverarity] to see what they do there. But I’m hoping I’ll be alright. I guess I’ve been a little bit unlucky, but that’s the way the game is. I haven’t felt great to be honest. I’ve felt good in spells, the new ball has been good and a couple of spells with the old ball.

“But I think middle of day three in Port Elizabeth – we fielded for a lot of that game – when I was bowling to Amla he was just driving me for fun. I just felt like something wasn’t right. So I’ve got a bit of work to do over the next few days. Day off and then I’ll do some stuff with Craig [McDermott], and we’ll go from there. But I know I’m not far away. My pace is still good. It’s just a matter of consistency at the moment.”

Harris has definitely not been himself on this tour as he has been bowling very short and barely putting any pressure on the South African batsmen.

“I’m aware of it but it keeps happening,” Harris said. “I keep asking Michael to put a deep point out because that seems to be where I get hit. It’s just something I have to get better at I guess when I am told to start bowling. Whether I have got to do more run throughs or take more time to get right. It’s not good enough, the first ball every time the batsman is sitting on the back foot waiting for a short ball and that’s something I have got to get better at. On Thursday I will bowl a spell and then have a rest and work on having a break to rectify it.”

Harris also conceded that if all-rounder Shane Watson were to return for the third Test in Cape Town, then it would take a lot of pressure off the shoulders of himself, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle.

“Having Watto back would be huge, having that extra bowler,” he said. “We’ve seen when Davey [Warner] has to bowl a few here and there and Michael has to fill in, they’re bowling Watto’s overs so having him there is huge for our attack. South Africa have tried to do that with their attack but lost a bowler last game. Who he comes in for I don’t know, the guys who are already in there, Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh, didn’t go well last game but have done well. Who knows. But I think we need Watto playing.”

Heading into the third Test, Harris confirmed that he was intent on taking the four wickets he requires to get to 100 Test wickets.

“It would’ve been great to have them [100 wickets] now, but if I get the opportunity…it’d be nice to get it here,” he said. “I think back to the Ashes of three years ago when we lost in Australia…and [at the time] I thought that could be the end of me playing Test cricket, because of my knee. To think where I was back then to where I am now, even if I finished up…I’d take 95 wickets.

“It would be a nice little personal achievement to get to 100 but, as I’ve said all through the summer and with every Test I’ve played, you’ve got to treat [each match] as your last – you never know with this thing with my leg. In saying that – and I’m probably contradicting myself – getting it fixed up when I get home will, I think, give me a bit more time. The fragments that are loose are causing the swelling, so if they’re not there hopefully the swelling stays down and it’s easier for me to get through.”

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