Seamer takes call after being ruled out of Ashes, says he'll miss Australian dressing room camaraderie the most
Ryan Harris, the 35-year-old Australian fast bowler, has retired from all cricket with immediate effect, a day after he was ruled out of the upcoming Ashes series in England due to continuing injury problems.
“Given the news I received yesterday, and after talking it over with my family, I know now is the right is the time to step away from cricket,” said Harris on Saturday (July 4). “I’m pretty lucky, I have had a wonderful career and nothing made me prouder than pulling on the Baggy Green.”
Harris made his One-Day International debut in 2009 at the age of 30, with Test and Twenty20 International debuts following the next year, but was plagued by injuries through most of his career, with several long breaks due to surgeries and recuperation. He ends with 113 wickets from 27 Tests at an average of 23.52, and 44 wickets from 21 ODIs at 18.91.
Harris’s last international match will remain the New Year Test against India in January this year, where he took 2 for 96 and none for 34. He was in Australia’s Ashes squad for the series that will get underway with the first Test in Cardiff on July 8, but had been earlier ruled out of the opening encounter.
On Saturday, shortly after scans on his right knee confirmed that Harris would not be fit in time to take any part in the series, he called time on his career.
“I played 27 more Tests than I ever thought I would and I have relished every single moment of them,” said Harris, adding that the toughest part of retirement would time away from his teammates. “I couldn’t have played with a better bunch of blokes and walking away from the team and our support staff is probably the hardest thing to stomach right now. This is a very special team and I know they will do Australia proud in this Ashes series. I know I will certainly be watching every ball.
“I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family who have supported me through the ups and downs of my career and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life with them and spending time with my new son Carter. Whatever is next for me, and I don’t know what that is right now, I know it will still involve cricket as that is what I love and I want to be able to give back to the game that has given me so much.”
Harris started his career as an allrounder in South Australia before a move to Queensland in 2008 where he concentrated on pace bowling, a decision that was to see him put on the national colours and be the spearhead of the Australian attack, though the numerous injuries he suffered curtailed his career significantly.
Harris underwent major surgery on his right knee last year, and put himself on a lengthy fitness programme in a bid to be fit in time to face England at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens from July 8. He even skipped Australia’s successful World Cup campaign.
He also missed the recent series win in the West Indies in order to be present for the birth of his child.
Alex Kountouris, the Australian team phsyio, said the current injury on Harris’ knee was more severe than the ones in the past.
“Ryan unfortunately experienced right knee pain during the tour match in Canterbury which was consistent with his ongoing knee condition,” he explained. “Whilst Ryan has had similar knee pain in the past, on this occasion it was more severe and he was unable to play in the Essex tour match.
“He had scans in London this week which revealed new damage to his existing knee injury. Unfortunately the damage to the joint means it is unlikely that he would recover in time to play a part in this series. Once he is back in Australia he will be reviewed his by his knee specialist in Melbourne for further management.”
Darren Lehmann, Australia’s coach, heaped praise on Harris, saying the bowler epitomised everything the Baggy Green stood for.
“I was lucky enough to captain Ryan as a grade cricketer, a rookie player and as a state cricketer. He was one of the most talented players I had ever seen,” said Lehmann. “Ryan always gave it his all for his country and he epitomises everything the baggy green stands for.
“His never-say-die attitude was his signature as he left absolutely nothing on the field each time he played and I think that is something for which he should be incredibly proud. His beautiful wife Cherie and his new son Carter, his dad Jim, his late mum Gai and his brother Gavin will be so proud of him and what he has achieved and the legacy he leaves behind.
“The team and I are certainly very proud of everything he has achieved on and off the field and we wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do next.”
Harris will be replaced in the Australian squad by Pat Cummins, who was initially named in the Australia A squad to play in India.