SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia paceman Ryan Harris suffered yet another injury blow on Thursday when he was sidelined for up to two months by a hamstring problem.
Flush from bowling in four successive tests for the first time in his career during the Ashes series, the 33-year-old had been bullish about his chances of playing on despite the injury when he returned from England on Thursday.
A Cricket Australia statement released later in the day, however, showed that his optimism had been misplaced, although he should be back in action when the return series against England starts in late November.
“Ryan Harris injured his right hamstring during the latter part of the second innings of the fifth Ashes test,” it read.
“He had to leave the field and did not return to the game as he was unable to bowl. He was assessed after arriving back in Australia today and is expected to be unavailable to play for the next 6-8 weeks.”
The pick of Australia’s bowlers in the 3-0 defeat in the Ashes series, Harris is no stranger to injury and has been restricted to just 16 tests since he made his debut in 2010.
A chronic knee problem, left ankle fracture, shoulder problem, back strain, hip pain and a tender Achilles have all contributed to limiting his international career.
Harris had hoped to play with Brisbane Heat in the Champions League Twenty20 competition later this month but the diagnosis means he will not now make the trip to India.
That might be a relief for some Australian cricket fans with the second Ashes series looming.
With 24 wickets at an average of 19.58 in England, Harris amply illustrated his importance to a pace attack that is expected to play a key role in the attempt to win back the famous urn on home soil.
The Achilles injury cut short his participation in the Indian Premier League earlier this year which, he said, had allowed him to get fully fit for the Ashes trip.
After his superb displays in England, Harris has now taken 71 wickets in his 16 tests but his personal satisfaction was not about to make up for his disappointment at the series defeat.
“To get through four tests and perform was good but at the end of the day, the results were bad,” he said.
“The good thing is they come back here in November and we can try and get the urn back then.”
Harris warned against asking groundsmen at the five Ashes test venues in Australia to prepare extra quick wickets to suit the Australian pacemen, saying it might turn out to be a double-edged sword.
“The problem there is that their bowling attack is pretty good,” he added.
”If we make our wickets like we normally do there will be enough grass on them and enough in them.
“Bowling at our best the batters are going to find it hard to score.”
Editing by John O'Brien/Patrick Johnston