Harmy - I've nothing to prove
Steve Harmison insists he has nothing to prove after being recalled by England for the third Test match against South Africa.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 28/07/08 6:14pm
Steve Harmison insists he has nothing to prove after being recalled by England for the third Test match against South Africa at Edgbaston.
The 29-year-old paceman has been selected in the 13-man squad as England look to bounce back from their humiliating 10-wicket defeat by the Proteas in the second Test at Headingley.
However, many critics, including former England captain Michael Atherton, have cast doubt over whether Harmison is the answer to England's problems, despite a promising return to form with county side Durham.
But Harmison, who stands 10th on England's all-time list of Test wicket-takers with 212 victims, has refused to become involved in the controversy and is instead focussing on forcing his way into Wednesday's starting XI.
"I'm not looking to prove any points, the selectors made a decision and everybody is talking about them," said Harmison, who has claimed 75 wickets in all cricket this summer.
"They made a call months ago to leave me and Matthew Hoggard out and went six games without changing the team. They went six games playing well and at the time it was the right decision.
"Now they made a choice last week and it didn't work for them, the one in New Zealand did. I've got a chance now to stake my claim and I'm looking forward to it."
He continued: "I can only do what I've been doing and if I play this week or next week it doesn't matter as long as I'm at that stage where I'm near the top of the ladder at where I want to be.
"Now I've got to get in the team and stay in the team. Vaughany knows what he can get out of me once everything is going well and going right, and I feel with overs under my belt I'm confident of doing that."
Since being dropped in the aftermath of England's surprise first Test defeat in New Zealand alongside Hoggard, Harmison's desire to play for England has been questioned along with his long-term future at international level.
But having delivered 434 overs in all forms of cricket this summer Harmison believes he is ready for a return to the Test arena.
"When I left New Zealand I asked 'what have I got to do to get back in' and I think I've answered that question as well as I possibly could have," Harmison explained.
"I've bowled overs and taken wickets, in fact I feel as though I've bowled the most overs in the country and I've taken a lot of wickets so I'm pleased.
"I've got continuous cricket under my belt. I think I've only missed two or three Twenty20 games this year, so I've played every form of the game for Durham.
"A lot of people thought you'd never see me in an England shirt again, but I was never one of them and that is the thing. If I was one then I'd have gladly said I couldn't carry on and pack it in, but no.
"I asked what I had to do, I've gone away knuckled down and done it. That is what I wanted to do because I've always wanted to play for England.
"I've missed the atmosphere. It is great playing for Durham and I love it, but the buzz of the first morning is a Test match is not something you get playing at the Riverside."