Gibson hails fantastic Harmy
Barbadian believes England snub was the best thing for Durham ace
By Joe Drabble. Last Updated: September 30, 2008 10:37am
Gibson: Full of praise for Harmison
England bowling coach Ottis Gibson believes being axed from the national side was the best thing that could have happened for the rejuvenated Steve Harmison.
"He (Harmison) said to me in New Zealand that he would be back, and he would be back better than ever."
Ottis Gibson Quotes of the week
The 2008 season was one to remember for the fiery Durham paceman as he inspired his county to their first ever County Championship title, and also secured his place back in the England side.
Harmison claimed 60 wickets in just 12 Division One matches at an average of 22.35 as Durham pipped Nottinghamshire to the trophy on the final day of the season.
And Gibson, a former Durham player himself, believes Harmison's snub from the England side during the 2007/08 tour of New Zealand was the catalyst to his devastating return to form.
"He had a really tough time in New Zealand," he told Sky Sports News.
"He had a tough time in Sri Lanka before Christmas and then after Christmas he went to New Zealand and I imagine he was probably the lowest he ever has been in his career.
"Speaking and trying to keep him together as his coach on the tour was tough and quite a challenge and it ended up with him getting left out of the side.
"I think he will agree that it was the best thing for him at the time, it was the best thing for him, and certainly the best thing for England."
Harmison made his return to the England Test side during the final Test of the disappointing 3-1 series defeat to South Africa earlier in the year.
And Gibson revealed that Harmison was also confident that he would be able to bounce back from his New Zealand disappointment to succeed again at the highest level.
"What he has gained from that (being dropped) is he has gone away and he has thought about a few things and he's worked hard," said Gibson.
"He said to me in New Zealand that he would be back, and he would be back better than ever.
"When he came back against South Africa this year he was fantastic and he's proved to himself that he has got what it takes to do well at international level again.
"He's been the number one bowler in the world before so it was just a case of him finding whatever it was inside himself to get that level of performance back again."