|Durham Representative No.:||45|
|Role:||Right Hand Bat|
With his lofty, loose-limbed gait and his painful capacity for jamming fingers against bat-handles, Steve Harmison had for some time been drawing tongue-in-cheek comparisons to the great Curtly Ambrose, when suddenly, in Jamaica in March 2004, he loped in to produce a spell of irresistible fast bowling that Ambrose himself could hardly have bettered. West Indies were blown away for 47, and Harmison's figures of 7 for 12 were the best in Tests at Sabina Park. It was a stunning riposte from a man who, only months earlier, had flown home injured from England's tour of Bangladesh with whispers about his diffidence chasing him all the way. However, as much as Jamaica 2004 set the benchmark, Brisbane 2006 proved a low point as his opening delivery of the Ashes series went straight to Andrew Flintoff at second slip and his desire was once again questioned.
Harmison, who was born in Ashington - the Northumberland village where the footballing Charlton brothers first saw the light of day - was barely 20 when he went with England A to South Africa in 1998-99, but after that he was held back by a series of niggling injuries - including somehow dislocating his shoulder when he caught his hand in his trouser pocket while bowling - and a tendency to fall homesick when confined to barracks on overseas tours. He eventually broke into the Test team in mid-2002, after an injury to another tearaway, Simon Jones, but for a long time he was no better than promising, with a tendency to mix magical spells with moments when the radar would go badly awry. But, in the Caribbean, the spiritual home of the fast bowler, he seemed to have finally come of age.