Flower - Harmy will bloom
Andy Flower insists Steve Harmison has got "a hell of a lot to offer" as he plots his winning formula ahead of the fifth Test.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 04/03/09 11:50am
Andy Flower insists out-of-form paceman Steve Harmison has got "a hell of a lot to offer" as England plot their winning formula ahead of the fifth and final Test against West Indies.
Coach Flower and his charges take to the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on Friday aiming to take 20 wickets in a Test for the first time since beating South Africa in August 2008.
Since the first Test mauling in Jamaica, Flower and the selectors have chopped and changed the England bowling attack due to a mixture of injury to Ryan Sidebottom and Andrew Flintoff, and the lack of form shown by Harmison.
Durham paceman Harmison was overlooked in favour of Sidebottom for the fourth Test at Bridgetown, and the 30-year-old now has two net sessions in the next two days to try to persuade the team management he is worthy of yet another recall.
However, there are question marks over whether he can still muster the pace and hostility which propelled him up the world Test bowling rankings last time England toured the Caribbean.
"At the moment he hasn't; otherwise he would have done it," said Flower.
"But I don't think by any means that Steve's finished. He's still got a hell of a lot to offer.
"Fast-bowling is long, hard work - and at the age of 30 it is only going to get harder work, so it is up to Steve really.
"He has got to put in the performances which make the selectors pick him time and time again."
Harmison admitted in the early stages of the current tour that he had not felt in good enough condition for the pre-Christmas series in India.
Following an impressive return to international cricket during England's win over the Proteas at the Oval last August, he began the Test winter in Chennai but has since been dropped on three occasions and taken only five wickets.
"He has been a really good performer for England; he has 217 Test wickets and has done some really good things," said Flower.
"I've only known Steve a little while, and we are still getting to know each other better now.
"If hard work is just a base that you start with, that's what he's doing at the moment. But for you to be a successful international cricketer you have to be very hungry.
"Only he knows how hungry he is to carry on the hard yakka [work] of a fast bowler's life.
"I think he still wants to do it: he's proud of his career and proud to play for England."