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December 2008
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Steve Harmison: Our Annus Disappointingis

December 31st, 2008 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England and tagged , ,

England’s premier fast bowler (terms and conditions apply) looks back on an eventful 2008

The year didn’t start as we would have hoped. For one, we were in New Zealand, and that’s about as far away from the North East as it’s possible to get. When you factor in the cool, windy weather, dour locals and massive amount of sheep, it’s easy to see why international sportsmen talk about a culture shock when you go abroad. On the plus side, they have biscuits and speak English.

Secondly, the powers that be had decided that they wanted a scapegoat for that performance in Hamilton. I said at the time that it wasn’t me that wanted to come and play cricket over there so I don’t necessarily see why I should carry the can.

Anyways, I said “I don’t mind sitting this one out”, selfless like and nothing to do with the fact that I’d just had a consignment of primo Lovejoy boxsets delivered to the dressing room. But in the end, me and Hoggy were both dropped. Hoggy likes cricket, and he took it bad. We haven’t seen him since: I heard he’d gone to live in a hole in the ground on one of his favourite moors and make things out of wicker. It sounds like a good life, if a bit exotic for my personal taste. You can’t trust wicker.

They sent us back to Durham and I had a good season. But after they picked Darren Pattinson to play against South Africa in July I have to say I was getting a bit worried. Hoggy sent a message to us, via pigeon, to say that he heard the selection meeting was down to Darren, him, us and this pal of Mooresey’s who’s a builder in Sussex and can turn his arm over if needs must. Apparently, the lad had another job on – a loft conversion in Guildford – and didn’t think he could make it in time, and of course Hoggy doesn’t have a phone up on his moor, so they thought they’d give Darren a shot.

It’s coming to something when they pick players based on their county form, and we’d all hoped that the Fletcher years had put an end to that sort of short-term attitude. But it made me think, what with having already retired from One Day cricket, now out of the longer format of the game as well and having a wife and 43 bairns to feed and clothe. For that reason I realised that I was determined to play for my country again and so when Kevin asked us to come out of one-day retirement I realised how proud I was to pull the jersey on.

We hammered South Africa in the one-dayers, although to be fair some of their lads did appear to have let their standards slip. When we saw Mark Boucher coming out to bat eating a cream horn we suspected that maybe their minds were elsewhere but you can only beat what’s in front of you. It was an exciting start to the Pietersen era. He makes me feel special and loved. Michael Vaughan tried to reason with us, and look how he ended up: crying on the telly.

The Stanford thing went from bad to worse, what with not winning any money and having to watch that bloke bouncing peoples’ wives up and down on his knee like a sort of Texan Santa. There’s something wrong about only getting paid if you win and the whole thing left a bad taste in the mouth.

Talking of which, it’s pretty much impossible to get a decent cup of tea in India. They were a bit too good for us on the day, or rather over a series of days, but there are definitely positives to take from the tour, the main one being that we won’t have to play them again for ages.

Alan Tyers bounced Steve Harmison on his knee at Santa’s Grotto in Newcastle city centre

Posted in Alan Tyers, England | 1 Comment »

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