Arthur - England look Harm-less

South Africa coach surprised and relieved by paceman's omission

Last Updated: 23/10/09 2:36pm

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Harmison: England axe

Harmison: England axe

Sky Bet

Mickey Arthur believes England's selectors have made a mistake by leaving Steve Harmison at home for the tour of South Africa.

"He was the one England bowler who could rough us up...He would have been a very awkward proposition."
Mickey Arthur Quotes of the week

Harmison was overlooked for the four-Test series this winter despite playing in the final two matches of England's successful Ashes campaign.

And Proteas coach Arthur feels the Durham paceman's high action and steepling bounce would have proved a handful on South African pitches.

"He was the one England bowler who could rough us up," Arthur told the Daily Mail.

"If they're trying to build a team for the next Ashes and Harmison isn't going to be there, I can see why they've done it.

"But a few of our batters will have seen that tour party and been pretty happy he's not on the plane - especially with our wickets, which will have plenty of pace and bounce.

"He would have been a very awkward proposition."

Johnson comparison

South Africa lost their most recent home series 2-1 to Australia in February, when they failed to handle Mitchell Johnson's pace.

Johnson may have struggled to impose himself on the slower pitches in England during the Ashes, but he was a force in South Africa where he claimed 16 wickets at an average of 25.

"We saw how dangerous Mitchell Johnson was against us on both Australian and South African wickets, because his stock ball - back of a length - was getting rib high on bouncy tracks and hitting batsmen under the heart," Arthur added.

"In England, he wasn't helped by the slow pitches, but Harmison could have done the same thing as Johnson out here."

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