Harmy: It's going to be tough
Steve Harmison insists he is in an even "better place" mentally then he was when he was ranked the No.1 bowler in the world.
Last Updated: 14/11/08 10:13am
Steve Harmison insists he is in an even "better place" mentally then he was when he was ranked the No.1 bowler in the world in 2004.
The 30-year-old Durham quick has endured a mixed run of form since taking 67 wickets en route to being crowned the world's best bowler four years ago.
Harmison helped England win the 2005 Ashes but his form worsened and his enjoyment for cricket over the last couple of years culminated in his retirement from one-day internationals shortly before the 2007 World Cup.
The persuasion powers of newly-installed captain Kevin Pietersen saw Harmison return to the one-day arena in August and he is now a key part of England's side hoping to win their first one-day series in India since 1984-85.
If Harmison can reach the heights of 2004 again, the chances of Peter Moores' men recording a rare series win in the subcontinent will increase significantly, but he believes England have a more rounded bowler in their ranks now than four years ago.
"I think I'm a better bowler now because I'm a more experienced bowler," claimed Harmison. "That year everything stuck, I was getting people taking catches off nothing and winnings lbws which were 90-10 in the batsman's favour.
"The following year, if there were three dropped catches in the game they were all mine, but I was pretty philosophical about what was happening and sometimes everything goes for you.
"You have to take the rough with the smooth and I feel like I'm in a decent place now but this tour is going to be tough. I'm just coming back into one-day cricket and this is probably the hardest tour of all."
The difficulties in playing and adapting to being in India have often troubled Harmison, and particularly his troubles with home-sickness on different tours.
But Harmison has taken the advice of close team-mate Andrew Flintoff and is determined to embrace and enjoy this experience - his first ever one-day series in India.
Indeed, the England duo have already organised adjoining rooms with a connecting door and a darts board, an arrangement which became popular on the 2006 Test tour to India.
"People take the mickey because we have adjoining rooms, but it's a better set-up for us than sitting on our own stewing in our rooms and not knowing what to do," said Harmison.
"Most of the lads came over the other night playing darts and it's good to have people around. The one thing it does is that when times are hard on the field, when you look around, you've got your mates with you, the people you are comfortable with.
"If you need to give that little bit extra for someone else, if you're strong with them and close to them, you'll give that bit extra, which might make all the difference."
He added: "I enjoy India because, as a team, you're together. There aren't as many distractions as other tours - you've got the cricket and then back to the hotel all the time and a few scary flights.
"If we come away from this trip with the team strong and galvanised by having a good trip here, then that can only be beneficial for what's coming up in the summer."