Harmy - I just want to play
Watch all three Tests in New Zealand live on Sky Sports
By Ben Sullivan. Last Updated: February 19, 2008 12:54pm
Harmison: 211 Test wickets
England paceman Steve Harmison insists he is chomping at the bit for the Test series to get under way in New Zealand.
"I am a professional cricketer who wants to play cricket and I have not done much of that for the last year. I just want to get my boots back on and get outside and get things going again."
Steve Harmison Quotes of the week
The Durham bowler jetted out on Monday night to join the England Test squad after being given special dispensation to arrive late due to the birth of his fourth child.
Now after the birth of his first son, Harmison is relishing resuming his international career.
He told Sky Sports News: "We knew this day was coming for a while in advance, that I might miss the start of the trip. Ideally it wouldn't happen, we would have had him the weekend before, then I could get on the plane and no one any the wiser.
"But nature works in mysterious ways and he came 10 days late. All's well at home so I can go to New Zealand full of confidence and probably with a spring in my step."
The 29-year-old also feels that he is close to getting back to his best. "I am fit. I have been working quite hard the last month. I had a couple of weeks off after Sri Lanka, to re-charge the batteries and let my hair down.
"I recovered from that trip, got back in the gym, worked hard. I have been bowling for a couple of weeks - indoors - it's not the best place to do it but with our winter you can't get outdoors. I am happy the way things are going. I am only three or four days behind the lads which is not a major thing because I think they went out a bit sharper anyway.
"The last four or five days I have not had much sleep so this 28-hour flight could go quite quickly for me!"
Harmison - who has retired from One Day Internationals - expects to play in the Test team's first warm-up game next week, a two-dayer starting on Monday against Otago in Dunedin.
"I just want to get out and play some cricket," he added. "I had a long break last year which disappointed me. By the time I got out to Sri Lanka I felt as though I was just getting back into the swing of things and then we came home.
"I just want to play cricket. I am a professional cricketer who wants to play cricket and I have not done much of that for the last year. I just want to get my boots back on and get outside and get things going again."