Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Following the funeral of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, pace bowler Ryan Harris announced that he is ready to face India when the first Test commences on December 9 in Adelaide.
Harris’ comments come just a few days after he said that he was unsure whether he would play the first Test since he was still mourning over the death of his team-mate and friend.
While head coach Darren Lehmann has already made it clear that he would fully understand if any player withdraws from the first Test, Harris noted that he was determined to play after noticing “how the mood in the group had begun to shift”.
“Walking down that main street in Macksville, following the hearse and seeing all those people lining the side of the road really struck a chord with me,” Harris wrote in his column in the Age. “It was then that I knocked Mitchell Johnson on the arm and said: ‘Far out, this is why we’ve got to play next week.’
“Seeing the green and gold streamers was a reminder these people want to see some cricket played, want to see us get out there and beat the Indians. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past week thinking and talking about Hughesy. We did more of that on Wednesday, first in Macksville and then in Coffs Harbour.
“One thing I noticed late on Wednesday was how the mood in the group had begun to shift. There were a few conversations about getting back to playing. The funeral was a bit of a milestone. As well as to pay your respects, it gives you a bit of closure. Now it’s done I think there are a few more guys determined to get back on the park – but there’s still a couple who are really hurting.”
Even though everyone is still grieving about Hughes, Harris has returned to training in order to get some much-needed preparation prior to the start of the four-Test series.
Harris has not played any international cricket since he underwent knee surgery following Australia’s 2-1 triumph in the Test series against South Africa in March.
However, Harris revealed that some members of the squad have still not returned to training since they have not gotten over Hughes’ death.
“I know some guys have really struggled,” Harris wrote. “Some haven’t even picked up a bat or ball yet since it happened. They’re just not going to know, until they pick a bat or ball up, whether or not they’re going to be capable of playing.”
With Hughes having passed away after being hit on the side of the neck by a bouncer, there has been a lot of debate about whether some restrictions should be imposed on bowling short-pitched deliveries.
However, Harris dismissed those speculations and insisted that Australia will continue playing with the same fire and aggression they have always shown on the pitch.
“We’ll definitely be maintaining our aggression; that’s how we play well,” he wrote. “That’s what we do. That’s the Australian way, so we’ll get back to doing that. It’s what those people I walked past on Wednesday in the procession would want, and what they would expect.”