Harris ready for recall

2011-11-23 09:11
Ryan Harris (AP)

Brisbane - Paceman Ryan Harris expects to be fit to return for Australia's series-opening Test against New Zealand next week and has vowed to play through the pain barrier to extend his international career.

The 32-year-old Harris, who has 35 wickets in eight matches after a belated Test debut, said a hip problem that forced him home from South Africa early after bothering him in the previous tour to Sri Lanka had responded well to treatment.

With form and injury concerns over Mitchell Johnson and the chance that a hamstring strain will restrict allrounder Shane Watson's bowling, Harris is expected to come back immediately into selection contention despite missing the two-wicket win over South Africa in the series-leveling second test at Johannesburg earlier this week.

The stocky right-armer has a chronic knee problem and needed surgery to repair his left ankle last season but forced his way back into the Australian Test squad for the tour to Sri Lanka in September despite his advancing age.

He took 11 wickets in two Tests in Sri Lanka and four in the first Test against South Africa at Cape Town earlier this month before aggravating his hip and being ruled out of the second test. In his absence, 18-year-old Pat Cummins took six second-innings wickets and scored the winning runs at Johannesburg.

Harris said he hates missing cricket and was prepared to manage his injuries to prolong his Test life.

"That's something I'm happy to put up with," said Harris, adding he'd like at least three more years in the Test arena, "and then I'll worry about my body."

Mickey Arthur, who guided South Africa up the Test rankings to No 1 during his five-year tenure there and was appointed on Tuesday as Australia's first foreign head coach, has already said he's in favor of rotating his frontline pacemen to avoid burnout.

"The amount of cricket that's being played, and with six Test matches in eight weeks, which is a hell of a lot of cricket, that's going to be the smartest thing to do," Harris said.

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