Marcus Harris, Australia’s reserve opener, is reconciled to the fact that he may not play in the Ashes, applauding David Warner performances despite two failures in the Headingley Test.
Harris, 30, is the squad’s only specialist reserve hitter after Matt Renshaw was released following the second Test at Lord’s. He anticipates participating in the series if one of Australia’s top five batters is injured.
Since Australia’s defeat at Headingley, all of the focus has been on how to fit Cameron Green back into the team after Mitchell Marsh made himself indispensable with a stunning opening-day century and crucial wickets, having replaced Green when he was withdrawn due to a hamstring niggle.
Warner has been publicly suggested as a prospective replacement.
Given his ongoing troubles against Stuart Broad, Warner has been mentioned publicly as a possible replacement. However, Green and others in the Australian team have downplayed speculation that he, Marsh, or Travis Head may start the batting at Old Trafford.
Harris echoed those sentiments, admitting that he is unlikely to be considered until after Warner planned Test farewell in January next year, given that Warner and Usman Khawaja have produced three 50-plus opening stands in the series, while England’s opening pair of Zac Crawley and Ben Duckett have made just one.
“Davey’s earned the right to pull the pin whenever he wants, and he’s done well this series,” Harris explained.
“England is a difficult place to open the batting, and he and Uz have gotten us off to a good start.” If it means waiting till then, so be it. But if something comes up early, I’ll be ready. Davey is undoubtedly a magnet for opposing viewpoints.
“Even if you’re not getting the big runs you want, I think you’re doing a good job if you can still contribute to the team in some way, shape, or form.” But that comes from an opening batter, so I’m prejudiced in that direction.
Harris was called upon midway through the 2019 Ashes series and struggled precisely as much as Warner, allowing 58 runs in six innings.
On the other hand, Harris has three years of County Championship experience and a remarkable first-class record in England, averaging 45.83 from 52 innings with nine hundred, including two this season for Gloucestershire.
Given his expertise in English conditions, Harris advised against using a middle-order hitter to open the batting in a Test match.
“I think it depends on the conditions and where you are,” he explained. “As you saw in the subcontinent, it is probably the best time for someone destructive like Heady to open the batting there.” But, given the state of the wickets in England and Australia in recent years and New Zealand, it is more of a specialist job. And you want your disruptive players, such as Greeny, Mitch, or Travis, to come in against an older ball.
“Perhaps the first two wickets were fine. Edgbaston would have been OK, but as we saw at Lord’s, anytime there were some overheads, and at Headingley, it was difficult work. My experience from county cricket has taught me that opening the batting at the wrong time of day, especially if you’re a destructive batter, is probably not ideal.”
Harris is confident that he has developed significantly since his previous England tour in 2019 and his last Test opportunity in January 2022.
“I have been exposed to a lot more conditions,” Harris explained. “I’ve been to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and played three county seasons here since then.” Being an overseas pro for county teams is different from playing Shield cricket. I feel more balanced. In 2019, that series taught me a lot. It didn’t seem reasonable then, but I profited from it in the long run.
I’m prepared to go whenever the opportunity arises. So be it whether or not it is the case for this tour. I am in a decent mental and physical state. I’ll be ready whenever it comes up.”
He had the opportunity of playing county cricket last week, as Michael Neser did for Glamorgan, but instead chose to go on a golf trip to Scotland alongside Marsh, Josh Hazlewood, and Australia bowling coach Daniel Vettori.
“I was given the option,” Harris explained. “I thought it would be nice to take a few days off and get away from cricket completely.” I’ve been here since April 1, so it’s been a lengthy tour. The training we can now undertake as a collective squad during games is as good as, if not better, playing a game of cricket. I won’t get enough cricket.
“It might have been a different story if I hadn’t played county cricket before the Ashes.” But I haven’t had any problems.”
For more latest cricket news in cricket visit IPLWIN