Harmy 'rusty' despite six-for
Fast bowler among the wickets in South Africa
Last Updated: November 9, 2007 7:25pm
Harmison: fitness quest
England fast bowler Steve Harmison admitted he was 'rusty' after taking six wickets on return to first-class action for the Highveld Lions.
"I bowled a lot of wides. In the last two or three years I bowled six no-balls and I bowled eight in this game, so that tells its own story. I'm a bit rusty and I'm not fully with it. So there were good things and bad things."
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Harmison signed to play two matches for the South African domestic team in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of England's Test tour of Sri Lanka.
A place in England's squad has been left open for the 28-year-old, but he must prove his fitness as he has not played international cricket since last June due to a hernia injury.
"It was difficult, to be honest," said Harmison, who returned figures of 6-91 from 27.3 overs as the Cape Cobras were bowled out for 294.
"This is sort of my pre-season. It's the first real sort of cricket I've bowled since the middle of July, and even then it was only sort of eight overs, so probably since the fourth Test match in England (against West Indies) at the end of June.
"I've not really played that much outside and I must admit I did spray it a little bit. But I've got six wickets and I'm happy with that.
"The wickets weren't everything to be honest. I was disappointed with the way it came out.
"I bowled a lot of wides. In the last two or three years I bowled six no-balls and I bowled eight in this game, so that tells its own story. I'm a bit rusty and I'm not fully with it. So there were good things and bad things.
"The positives were I got 28 overs under my belt, I fielded for 102 overs in decent heat in very, very good competitive cricket and got six wickets. The downside was my action wasn't as good as I would like to, but we're a month away from the first Test match and there's still a lot to work on.
"At the end of the day, I've got six for 91 off 28 overs and my team is in a good position. All I'm here for is to try and win games for the Lions and at this minute in time I think I'm happier being in my position than in being in the Cape Cobras' position."
Harmison insisted he was in peak physical condition but needed to get more overs under his belt before being ready to compete at international level.
"I'm over the injuries and I'm fit, but the one thing I'm not is bowling fit," he added.
"That's a big difference that any bowler who reads this will understand.
"I'm in the gym, I'm doing the sort of fitness stuff, and I've got good miles in my legs, but I'm not bowling fit and I've not got the overs under my belt and that's what I need to do. Hopefully these next three or four weeks will do that."