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Don't rule out Harmy - Smith

Fast bowler can earn England recall, says county skipper

Harmison: chasing England recall

Durham captain Will Smith has backed his county's pace spearhead Steve Harmison to bowl his way back into the England frame.

"With someone of Harmy's class, ability and stature in the game you'd be foolish to ever rule out the possibility of him getting another crack."

Will Smith

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Harmison, a veteran of 63 Tests, was overlooked for England's tours of South Africa and Bangladesh this winter.

And it is not just established performers such as James Anderson, Stuart Broad and county team-mate Graham Onions who have overtaken Harmison in the pecking order.

In Bangladesh, England turned to Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn when injuries decimated their seam bowling options.

But Smith does not think Harmison, 31, is ready to give up on Test cricket just yet.

Class act

"Harmy really is a class act and will be one until he retires, there's no question about that," Smith said.

"I don't know what the England situation is for him. They seem to have a group of fairly young bowlers and I assume they're trying to nurture and progress them together as a group.

"But with someone of Harmy's class, ability and stature in the game you'd be foolish to ever rule out the possibility of him getting another crack.

"As far as I'm aware he's still up for England selection. I haven't talked to any of the national coaches but I know Harmy is just as driven as ever and he just wants to take wickets.

"I think he still believes he can do it and as long as he still thinks he can he'll be steaming in and taking wickets for us, which is great for Durham.

"If he doesn't get the call and we have him for a full summer then we'll be doing very well because he's going to take a lot of wickets."

Smith will lead the county champions out in the seasonal curtain raiser against the MCC on Monday, a traditional fixture given a contemporary twist this year with the experimental addition of pink balls and floodlights in Abu Dhabi.

Onions injured

Onions will not be on duty after flying home from Bangladesh with a back injury, but Smith does not expect the seamer to be out of the reckoning for long.

"I don't think his injury is as serious as it could have been," he said.

"In the next few days he's going to Loughborough to be looked over by the England medical team.

"By the time we get back from Abu Dhabi he will probably be back with us and we'll assess his strength and fitness then, but I don't think it's as severe as first thought.

"Presumably if he's fit and firing he'll be back in the Test squad for the home Tests against Bangladesh and fingers crossed he will be."