Harris named assistant coach for Australia A home series

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“I certainly didn’t expect or ask for this opportunity but I jumped at the chance when [CA’s general manager of team performance] Pat Howard asked me”

Australia pace bowler Ryan Harris has been given his first taste of coaching as he was named the assistant coach for Australia A’s home series against South Africa A, India A and the Cricket Australia National Performance Squad.

All the matches during these series will take place in Darwin, Palmerston, Townsville and Brisbane.

Harris is currently recovering from knee surgery and is looking to rejoin the national team when they head to the United Arab Emirates to take on Pakistan in October.

“I certainly didn’t expect or ask for this opportunity but I jumped at the chance when [CA’s general manager of team performance] Pat Howard asked me,” Harris told the Courier Mail. “To get this sort of position, you normally have to have been coaching for a long time so I am very fortunate.

“I am the first to admit I have got a lot to learn about being a coach. And it is not for me to go in and change things. I will just try to give the guys some advice when they need it and hopefully they can learn a bit from my experiences.”

Australia A’s preliminary 21-man squad includes Alex Doolan, Phillip Hughes, James Faulkner and Moises Henriques.

In a rather surprising move, the national selectors decided to select Peter Nevill and Sam Whiteman as the two wicketkeepers instead of Matthew Wade and Tim Paine.

“Sam Whiteman and Peter Nevill have shown excellent recent form with the gloves and the bat and thoroughly deserve the opportunity to impress at this level,” national selector John Inverarity said. “Matthew Wade and Tim Paine have had considerable international experience and are well regarded known quantities. The NSP is hopeful that this international exposure with Australia A will provide Sam and Peter with invaluable experience.

“Steven O’Keefe and Cameron Boyce have performed well during the 2013-14 season and will share the spin bowling duties. Steven topped the Sheffield Shield bowling aggregate and averages with 41 wickets at less than 21 per wicket. Cameron took 26 wickets with his steadily improving legbreaks.

“The NSP is especially keen for the potential future international all-rounders, James Faulkner, Moises Henriques and Mitchell Marsh to have this opportunity to develop further and enhance their claims. Alex Doolan will be looking to build on his promising start in Test cricket and Phillip Hughes, Callum Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Tom Cooper and Peter Forrest have enjoyed productive domestic seasons and will be looking to push for higher honours.

“Mitchell Starc has recovered well from the injury which kept him out of cricket for most of the summer. He may use the Australia A program to prepare optimally for the 2014-15 season. Pat Cummins has been making pleasing progress and some appearances for Australia A will be a significant step in his return.

“Josh Hazlewood has recently taken a big step forward by taking 6-50 from 22 high quality overs in the Sheffield Shield Final at Manuka Oval in Canberra and this will give him a great deal of confidence. Jason Behrendorff and Chadd Sayers have bowled very well in Shield cricket throughout the summer. They have been prolific wicket-takers with 40 and 36 wickets respectively. Kane Richardson and Ben Cutting have established themselves as white ball prospects and will be looking to enhance their claims for selection in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup squad.”

Australia A preliminary squad: Jason Behrendorff, Cameron Boyce, Tom Cooper, Pat Cummins, Ben Cutting, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson, Peter Forrest, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Phillip Hughes, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Cameron White, Sam Whiteman

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