Harris to sit out rest of Shield season

02 Feb 2015

I (162)

Ryan Harris will undergo a structured plan of rest and strengthening, coupled with a gradual increase in his bowling workload over the next five months, to ensure he is in ideal condition for this year's Ashes series in the United Kingdom.

As part of that plan, the 35 year-old will sit out the remainder of the my FootDr Queensland Bulls' Bupa Sheffield Shield programme but, after the season is over, he will play centre wicket matches with the Cricket Australia National Performance Squad in the build-up to that Ashes campaign.

Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager, Team Performance, said: "With Ryan, our number one priority is to ensure he is 100 per cent fit and available for this winter's Ashes series.

"He has had a heavy bowling workload over the past couple of months and actually bowled more balls from November to January this summer than in the corresponding period twelve months earlier.

"It has already been documented that Ryan will miss the tour of the West Indies as his wife prepares to give birth to their first child, and by giving him this structured programme to rehabilitate his knee, improve his physical conditioning and gradually build his bowling workload, we can ensure he is absolutely ready for the Ashes tour.

"Ryan is keen to play as much cricket as he can but he knows his body better than anyone else and he is fully understanding and appreciative of the thought that has gone into this decision.

"Queensland Cricket is also completely supportive of the decision that has been made with the interests of the national team front and centre, and we are very grateful for everyone seeing that bigger picture."

Harris has been a key performer for Australia in the past two Ashes series. In the United Kingdom in 2013 he captured 24 wickets in four Tests at 19.58 each and last summer, in five matches, he picked up a further 22 wickets, this time at 19.31 apiece.

Harris took a further 10 wickets in the series win in South Africa early last year but then required surgery on his left knee and the recovery period meant he missed the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

He then played in three of the four matches of the recent Commonwealth Bank Test series against India and took 10 wickets.

National Selector Rodney Marsh said: "Ryan's performances in each of the last two Ashes series mark him out as a key performer for us as we seek to win a series in the United Kingdom for the first time since 2001.

"We looked at various options around him playing Bupa Sheffield Shield cricket during the rest of this summer but on the basis that he is nearer the end of his career than the beginning we want to ensure that he bowls as many balls as possible in international cricket and we believe this programme ahead of The Ashes is the best way to achieve that goal."

Ryan Harris said: "I want to play as much cricket as I can as I know you are a long time retired but I recognise this is the best approach to ensuring I am absolutely right for The Ashes.

"I have huge ambitions to help us win a series in the United Kingdom and that goal is something that will drive me on over the coming months."

Australia's opening match of its Ashes tour is against Kent at Canterbury starting on 25 June and the first Test begins in Cardiff on 8 July.