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   Jul 05

Ashes 2015: Ryan Harris says he could not put himself through another long rehab

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Nanjing Night Net

CHELMSFORD: A crack in Ryan Harris’s tibia brought a premature end to the Australian fast bowler’s career on the eve of the Ashes series, with the 35-year-old determining he could not put himself through another arduous rehabilitation and making the difficult decision to retire.

Harris travelled with the Australian squad from Essex to Cardiff via coach on Saturday night after the team’s final hit-out before Wednesday’s first Test against England. A 169-run win over their county hosts was a mere footnote, however, on day in which the tourists lost the services of one of their most dependable and popular figures. Patrick Cummins has been drafted into the squad as Harris’s replacement.

The veteran paceman said he had wrestled with his future after being told on Friday afternoon of scan results that showed what he hoped was simply a bruised knee was much worse.

“I nearly blew my head up yesterday thinking there’s got to be a way I can get past this again, I’ve done it before,” Harris said. “But the other side of my head was saying last time was a struggle… potentially it was four to five months minimum before I could probably run again and I’d be 36 by then.

“It was just going to be too hard for me and by then getting back into this side was I think going to be impossible as well with the guys we’ve got here. Mentally, After speaking to my wife (Cherie) as well, she saw what I went through, what I’ve just finished, and she said ‘you can’t get through that again’. Making the decision I have hasn’t been easy so I love doing what I do.”

Harris, having kept the news from his teammates overnight, addressed them in their dressing room at the Essex County Ground on Saturday morning after the bus ride from their hotel in the countryside near Colchester.

“We had a 50-minute bus trip on the way here and I played out in my mind what I was going to say and none of it went to plan. I barely could talk,” he said.

“That would be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do when it comes to my career, that sort of stuff. Obviously the playing part is to me very important but what most people would say when you get to this stage, the part you miss most are the guys you played with.

“And I tried to say to the guys this morning obviously that’s part of the reason why you play the game. You know when you go out on the field you have blokes behind you and you know when you come in the rooms the guys that aren’t playing they’re behind you, the coaching staff are behind you and I think that’s the part I’m going to miss the most and that’s probably what makes me…I love playing…but that’s the sad part.”

Harris, who has a history of knee problems, had two sets of scans in London in the past four days after withdrawing from the tour game citing soreness from the previous match against Kent, his first in nearly six months.

The results were not positive. “There’s a crack in the tibia, I’ve got a little part in the top of the shin that’s worn a hole at the top of the tibia that’s caused the crack from the bone on bone wearing away,” he said. “I felt something in one of the balls (I bowled against Kent) and there was a clicking it’s obviously knocked something and it’s come to this and the pain I’ve had in it, partly in that game and before I tried to bowl out here, was terrible.

“I need surgery to fix it, I need a bone graft to get some bone in there and fix that and I’ve been told – I’ve never had that done before – it’s a slow process that pointed me to this decision.”

Harris said he had had a sleepless night on Friday after discussions with team doctor Peter Brukner and physio Alex Kountouris, who had been phoned with the scan results by the bowler’s Melbourne-based surgeon David Young, convinced him to call it quits.

“I tried to have a couple of beers to put me to sleep and it didn’t work,” he said. “Alex just explained to me that it wasn’t good news and went on to elaborate a bit on that. He didn’t say in as many words that I should retire but he said it was going to be very hard. It wasn’t great after that phone call. But sitting and talking to Dr Brukner and Alex they gave me some pretty good advice and the word retire was used. It was a word I didn’t want to hear but deep down I think I knew it was coming.”

Harris played only 27 Tests since his belated debut at the age of 30 in 2010, with his career interrupted by a range of injuries, but he leaves an indelible imprint on the game after collecting 113 wickets at 23.52. He said he was not thinking of what could have been had he had not endured injury troubles.

“I played 27 Tests for Australia, that’s 27 more than I thought I was going to play,” he said.

“I always thought if I was going to play for Australia it would be in one-day cricket and eventually Twenty20 cricket – 27 Tests, it’s not enough in my mind but it’s 27 Tests. But if I think here and think about that I’d drive myself mad.

“It’s very disappointing, but I’m very happy with what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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