The old mentor of the fast bowler, Steve Harmison, believes the ECB made a « big mistake » in the white ball contract decision
South Africa and England will lock their horns under Table Mountain on Friday at the first of six fast white ball internationals in Cape Town and Paarl, opening the prospect of tempting fast bowling from both sides.
Among the tourists are Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Olly Stone, while Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje stand in line for the hosts. Like Archer, named Most Valuable Player, the two Proteas have enjoyed eye-catching campaigns in the Indian Premier League in terms of wickets and pace.
« I was part of our IPL show on Mondays and the names of Rabada and Nortje came week after week, » says Steve Harmison, the former English spearhead and now part of the TalkSport team, which has exclusive radio rights for the tour.
« I was not at all surprised that your team, Delhi Capitals, made it to the finals. People say Twenty20 is a batsman game and yes, many stacked in their favor. But a pace can win a match. I really think these two white ball series will depend on who’s got the best fast bowlers. ”
The veteran Rabada was the IPL’s leading wicket-taker with 30 victims. Its silky smooth action reached 150 km / h. . Nortje, the understated right-winger from the Eastern Cape, continued his ascent with 22 scalps, more than a third of the tournament’s 100 fastest deliveries and a top speed of 156 km / h. 22 km / h).
But in a chat to preview the upcoming tour, Harmison also skips over England’s resources, describing Archer, Wood and Stone as the most exciting trio of real quicks the stars of Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and himself have picked the ashes 2005.
The 42-year-old purrs over Archer before his appearance in the Twenty20 leg of the tour, emphasizing that patience is still required in the test arena. « I was referred to as a bowler who had good days and bad, » says Harmison. « But it’s not an exact science, we’re not robots. And the pressure of international cricket is greatest. ”
He also believes that Stone, replacing Archer for the one-day internationals that follow, and the larger allotment of 10 overs per innings is perfect for a bowler looking to improve his fitness and strength after a series of injury issues.
But when it comes to Wood, Harmison has a problem, especially the decision of the Cricket Board of England and Wales to only give him a white ball assignment, while repeatedly playing the central role of the 30-year-old in test plans Is cited overseas. including the Ashes offer for next winter. « I found it pretty disrespectful to Mark, » says Harmison. “For my money, the English leadership is as good as that of Ashley Giles, Chris Silverwood and others. But in this case they made a big mistake. ”
Harmison is open about campaigning for a friend here. He’s been like a big brother to Wood over the years and also an inspiration when Wood as a teenager stood in the pavilion at Ashington CC and watched on TV another fast-paced bowler from the club get charged up to bowling during this memorable event the summer of 15 Years.
« It seems like the decision was a case of, ‘Woody is a great boy, he’s not going to make a fuss, » continues Harmison. « I understand that during financially difficult times the ECB has to cut its clothes accordingly, but I still didn’t like it. « . Maybe without the summer pandemic and with houses full for the test matches, Jimmy Anderson goes to the oval and says « Thank you very much » and goes into the comments box all day.
« But he didn’t and because he could bowl very well, he felt he could go on for another year. I’m not blaming him at all, I would do the same. But I wonder if it meant that something had to be there in terms of the contracts and that something was Mark Wood.
« You said it was because of the friendly matches played, but in his last three away games England won all three and he took many wickets [18 out of 14 runs apiece]. Duke’s ball at home, no question about it, it’s still Anderson and Stuart Broad. But England is trying to win in India and Australia over the next 12 months and they will ask a man they did not consider worthy of a contract to get it done. ”
Harmison shares widespread concern that Wood, whose pressure on the top of the speed cannon weighs heavily on a fragile body, will now feel compelled to prepare for the next IPL in a year that is already at the seams in terms of international Cricket. He says, « You just don’t get these X-Factor bowlers too often and when you do you have to protect them. If an IPL contract came about now, I would tell him, as a close confidante, to sign it. He has a young family and your time as an athlete is short.
« If England is desperate that he is not going, they have to find the money from somewhere. He’s not the type to tell you that, but I know I would and I suspect [TalkSport colleague] Darren Gough would too. ”
Harmison awaits an answer from Wood in the upcoming series, citing his own key contract snub in 2003-2004 as a similar inspiration, and it could be the batsmen of South Africa carrying him. But the nice thing about this short, spicy tour is that the hosts own the bowlers to give back some Protea Fire as well.
To follow the action from South Africa, download the talkSPORT app, retune your DAB radio and listen on talkSPORT. com or ask your smart speaker to play talkSPORT 2. .
English cricket team, Mark Wood, cricket, Jofra Archer, South African national cricket team
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