Old is gold for Australia’s Harris

Paceman opposes former coach Mickey Arthur casts doubt on longevity of players


Reuters December 20, 2013
Six of the 11 that trounced England in three straight matches to win back the coveted urn are over 30, and Australia may bring a very different team for the next Ashes in 2015. PHOTO: AFP

PERTH: Australia's Ashes triumph has been cast as a fairytale song for an ageing team, and taking advantage, 34-year-old pace man Ryan Harris has urged selectors not to pension off the greybeards needlessly.

Six of the 11 that trounced England in three straight matches to win back the coveted urn are over 30, and Australia may bring a very different team for the next Ashes in 2015.

Former coach Mickey Arthur, who was sacked before the first of the back-to-back Ashes series in England, has cast doubt on the longevity of some of the players, including 32-year-old captain Michael Clarke, who is managing a back condition.

"I read Mickey Arthur's comments about the need to rebuild, and I don't really want to get into it because I don't want to start another furore,” said Harris in a column published by Melbourne's The Age newspaper on Friday. “I think he's wrong.

"If you're older and you're good enough to play at this level, then you should be picked. If you nick off all your old blokes, who are the younger ones going to learn from?"

I play every Test like it’s my last: Harris

Australia's selectors have traditionally been the whipping boys of a feisty local media and were universally slammed for axing opening batsman Simon Katich at the age of 35 after he suffered an injury during the 2010-11 Ashes series. His anointed replacement Phillip Hughes, 13 years his junior, failed to cement his place despite being handed multiple chances.

A litany of injuries has forced Harris to take time to accumulate his 19 Test appearances, but his excellent form in the Ashes, as the leading wicket-taker in the northern series and 12 wickets down under, has justified selectors' patience with his fitness troubles.

Harris is still battling to recover from a knee injury but said his surgeon was surprised to see how well he was progressing.

“I play every Test like it's my last,” said Harris. “I know the end is close but whether it's next week after the Melbourne test or whether it's in two years, I don't know."

Australia play England in the fourth Test in Melbourne starting on December 26.

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