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Old 9th October 2013, 01:49   #1
geoff_boycotts_grandmother
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Steve Harmison

The retirement of a bona fide England great seems to have gone unnoticed.

The last Englishman to top the bowling rankings, Harmy took over 200 test wickets.

He was the man who gave us

this

this

this

this

this

and not forgetting this - WARNING! TURN OFF VOLUME: CONTAINS MARK NICHOLAS COMMENTARY

Stephen Harmison OBE, thank you for the memories.

LEGEND.
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Old 9th October 2013, 08:02   #2
Ali TT
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One of the great balls.
Hadn't realisedHarmy was still going to be honest!
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Old 9th October 2013, 10:08   #3
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Harmy was still going to be honest!
For the last 2.5 seasons he wasn't.

Awesome when he was firing in his prime though.
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Old 9th October 2013, 10:42   #4
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Bit of a weird one Harmy. Was always better when he had a month or two to bully county batsmen before putting on the England shirt. Must have been horrible to face when in his prime but probably nobody better to face when his radar went.
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Old 9th October 2013, 11:01   #5
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Bit of a weird one Harmy. Was always better when he had a month or two to bully county batsmen before putting on the England shirt. Must have been horrible to face when in his prime but probably nobody better to face when his radar went.
I'd say 'bowling fitness' was more of his problem. Just think about the likes of Ambrose and Walsh, they always seemed to have that late into their career. I'd suggest Harmison wasn't quite of that ilk in terms of natural athleticism and certainly not in the same class as bowler as those two. That said for a year/18 months he was real quality.
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Old 9th October 2013, 13:48   #6
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This may not got go down well, but in many ways I consider Harmison to be completely over-rated. His reputation was based solely upon that run of admittedly very purple form he had in 2004. He was, IMO, the worst of the bunch of Fred, him, Hoggy and Jones.

In the 11 series he played 3 or more tests in, he averaged under 30 in only 4- 3 of which were in 2004 v WI (home and away) and NZ, and the other in 2006 v Pakistan where he took 11 wickets in one match and averaged about 50 in the other 3. After the WI home series in 2004, his bowling average for the remainder of his career was nearly 38. Not only was that ball to Clarke off-set by the opener at Brisbane 2006 to second slip he routinely put in horror-show spells where the ball was as likely to career down leg for 4 byes as it was to be on target.

Also, every spring it seemed Harmison would go back to Durham and rip through county line-ups on helpful wicket at CleS. There would be a media clamour about him regaining his mojo only for him to flop in the test opener at Lords. No wonder the selectors are wary of picking Onions based upon his domestic record.

Pacey yes and at its best and on conducive wickets, clearly very hard to play. But I always thought Harmison was too nice to be a true fast bowler (an image I think confirmed by his gentle demeanour in the Sky Comms box). To me, he was to England then what Johnson is to Australia now- a quick bowler who offers "something different" and will always have backing among the media and fans based upon the possibility he might come off. Sadly, Harmison too rarely did.
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Old 9th October 2013, 14:37   #7
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One of my favourite bowlers, probably bacause of his falability.
When he was good he was scary, the best out & out fast bowler since Willis. He burned very bright for a short period, unfortunately he will be remembered for hitting slip and being home sick.
Like Johnson (who was also number 1 in the world) far better in a 5 man attack were their bad days can be accomadated - I fear Finn may fall into the same category.
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Old 11th October 2013, 21:01   #8
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Originally Posted by Ali TT View Post
This may not got go down well, but in many ways I consider Harmison to be completely over-rated. His reputation was based solely upon that run of admittedly very purple form he had in 2004. He was, IMO, the worst of the bunch of Fred, him, Hoggy and Jones.

In the 11 series he played 3 or more tests in, he averaged under 30 in only 4- 3 of which were in 2004 v WI (home and away) and NZ, and the other in 2006 v Pakistan where he took 11 wickets in one match and averaged about 50 in the other 3. After the WI home series in 2004, his bowling average for the remainder of his career was nearly 38. Not only was that ball to Clarke off-set by the opener at Brisbane 2006 to second slip he routinely put in horror-show spells where the ball was as likely to career down leg for 4 byes as it was to be on target.

Also, every spring it seemed Harmison would go back to Durham and rip through county line-ups on helpful wicket at CleS. There would be a media clamour about him regaining his mojo only for him to flop in the test opener at Lords. No wonder the selectors are wary of picking Onions based upon his domestic record.

Pacey yes and at its best and on conducive wickets, clearly very hard to play. But I always thought Harmison was too nice to be a true fast bowler (an image I think confirmed by his gentle demeanour in the Sky Comms box). To me, he was to England then what Johnson is to Australia now- a quick bowler who offers "something different" and will always have backing among the media and fans based upon the possibility he might come off. Sadly, Harmison too rarely did.
I don't think you're being as controversial as you think. I was under the impression that most followers of cricket held the view that although he under performed for most of his career, for about 18 months he was simply, and almost inexplicabley, the best bowler in the world. He played more often than he should, but no-one really had his key attributes of height and pace, and was chosen (in my eyes) in hope than expectation, and whilst the hope probably didn't pay off enough, when it did it was pretty memorable. Most people eulogise about the slower ball, but watching him set the tone for 2005 by roughing up Langer and Ponting will rank highest in my memories of him, just above Pollock running himself out, desperate to get off strike and too distracted by a vicious blow on the glove from the man from Ashington to see the run wasn't on.

Cheers Harmy.
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Old 11th October 2013, 23:31   #9
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I don't really see that Harmison ever had a stellar 18 months. It was more like 7, from Sabina Park through to the end of the home series versus the West Indies in 2004. His efforts in SA that winter should have been a warning.
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Old 14th October 2013, 23:57   #10
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Harmison was a much underrated bowler who was virtually unplayable when at his best and was even more dangerous than Ambrose. Always enjoyed watching him play. Of the Ashes quartet, I'd forgotten Simon Jones until he was mentioned earlier in the thread, and Hoggard was very ordinary for large parts of his early and middling career - when the ball didn't swing, he was hit out of the attack. So it was really only FF that excelled ahead of GBH.
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Old 15th October 2013, 00:34   #11
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Harmison was a much underrated bowler who was virtually unplayable when at his best and was even more dangerous than Ambrose. Always enjoyed watching him play. Of the Ashes quartet, I'd forgotten Simon Jones until he was mentioned earlier in the thread, and Hoggard was very ordinary for large parts of his early and middling career - when the ball didn't swing, he was hit out of the attack. So it was really only FF that excelled ahead of GBH.
Are you serious? Judging bowlers by whether you've idiotically forgotten them or not, despite being the best bowler in a series isn't really the prescribed way
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Old 15th October 2013, 10:18   #12
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Harmison was a much underrated bowler who was virtually unplayable when at his best and was even more dangerous than Ambrose. Always enjoyed watching him play. Of the Ashes quartet, I'd forgotten Simon Jones until he was mentioned earlier in the thread, and Hoggard was very ordinary for large parts of his early and middling career - when the ball didn't swing, he was hit out of the attack. So it was really only FF that excelled ahead of GBH.
Whereas the excellent Harmison was sub-ordinary for most of 2002, 2003, 2004/5, 2006-9, that is 6.5 years of an 8 year career.
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Old 15th October 2013, 10:35   #13
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Quote:
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Harmison was a much underrated bowler who was virtually unplayable when at his best and was even more dangerous than Ambrose. Always enjoyed watching him play. Of the Ashes quartet, I'd forgotten Simon Jones until he was mentioned earlier in the thread, and Hoggard was very ordinary for large parts of his early and middling career - when the ball didn't swing, he was hit out of the attack. So it was really only FF that excelled ahead of GBH.
Hahaha. Harmy more dangerous than Ambrose. If you exclude matches vs zim and bang harmy took wickets in a SERIES cheaper than Ambrose's CAREER average (under 21) how many times?

One series. Just one. That wi tour in 2004. Apart from that one series he never had a series vs top 8 nation where his average was fewer than Ambrose career.

You must be winding us up on this.
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Old 15th October 2013, 12:18   #14
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I'm struggling to think of an England bowler who frustrated more over the last 20 years - i.e. you knew he could be world-beating but those moments grew fewer and farther between as he progressed. But for that spell of form when he was No 1 in the world and genuinely seemed unplayable, and for his contributions to the 2005 Ashes (Edgbaston in particular - Clarke & Kasprowicz wickets), I salute him and wish him well in his retirement. His media contributions have been more insightful and erudite than one might have expected so far...
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Old 15th October 2013, 12:27   #15
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I agree re comm box. He is very good. Also agree re frustrating. Could have been a great but wasn't.
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Old 15th October 2013, 12:55   #16
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In the days when I was blogging I wrote this about him (please ignore my snide remark about Ian Bell further down the page): http://www.cricket247.org/community/...ead.php?t=8804
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Old 15th October 2013, 13:33   #17
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Here's a stat
In 63 test matches, Harmison's match average was <30 in a total of 25 tests. 20 of these matches occurred before the end of 2005.
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Old 15th October 2013, 21:27   #18
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Hahaha. Harmy more dangerous than Ambrose. If you exclude matches vs zim and bang harmy took wickets in a SERIES cheaper than Ambrose's CAREER average (under 21) how many times?

One series. Just one. That wi tour in 2004. Apart from that one series he never had a series vs top 8 nation where his average was fewer than Ambrose career.

You must be winding us up on this.
No wind up Harmison for about 18 months was about the best bowler on the planet and as hard to defend against as Ambrose, just as Vaughan was the world's best batsman for a similar duration. It's just a pity neither get remembered for their sheer invincibility when they were at the top. Whereas the likes of Hoggard who was complete and utter mediocrity for the first half of his career and never achieved the heights of Harmison at his best, yet is revered for being workmanlike and finishing his career on a high.
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Old 15th October 2013, 23:42   #19
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Please explain these 18 months. I think you mean 6 months vs a bad wi side and then a weak nz. It is just that those series were (ignoring one test vs bang) top and tailed by an average of 45 vs saffers and 73 vs saffers (hog 24). If you said that four 6 months he was good you would have a point!
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Old 16th October 2013, 16:50   #20
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Cabinboy - As stated I really liked Harmmy - but "when at his best and was even more dangerous than Ambrose." is plainly wrong, I am not sure I have ever seen a bowler harder to play than Ambrose with his dander up.
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