A Tribute To Ryan Harris

The great Australian fast bowling warrior, Ryan Harris, has retired immediately from the game after re-injuring his knee and being ruled out of the Ashes series. A late developing player, Harris made his Test debut as a 30 year old in Wellington in 2010 and despite several injuries, gave Australia wonderful service in the five years that followed.

Watching Harris in his early days for South Australia gave little indication of what was to come. A good honest medium pacer who gave away little. Solid with the bat. After debuting for the Redbacks in the 2001/02 season, it was a breakout 2007/08 Sheffield Shield season where he claimed 37 wickets at 29.86, and make 363 runs at an average of 24.20 that saw his stocks rise. So much so that a three year deal offered by Queensland was too good to refuse, especially given the short term contracts he’d been on with South Australia. More attention to strength and fitness training had seen Harris transform from a medium pacer into a genuine quick.

A strong start to his Queensland career saw Harris make his One Day International (ODI) debut against South Africa in Hobart in 2009, taking 1/54. The next time he was called up, more than a year later, he took 5/43 against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval. The following game in that ODI series, Harris took 5/19. Five weeks later the adopted Queenslander made his Test debut in New Zealand, taking 9 wickets in the two match series. Only injury would stem the flow of wickets from that point onwards.

There were many injuries, limiting the bustling quick to 27 Tests and 21 ODI’s over the next five years. A knee that had given him grief for most of his career, and ultimately finished it, was top of a list that included a broken bone in his ankle, hip injuries, hamstring and achilles problems. But whenever he took to the park he was always a dangerous proposition.

His ODI career was short but spectacular. Forty-four wickets in 21 games at the incredible average of 18.90 is an amazing feat in the era of short boundaries, flat pitches and big bats. He opted to not push for availability for the 2015 World Cup in a bid to get himself right for one last Ashes campaign.

Ryan Harris’ Test career was full of highlights. He saved his best work for Ashes Tests, taking 57 wickets in 12 Tests against the old enemy. Nine wickets at Perth in 2010/11 and 9 in Chester-le-Street in 2013 were standouts. His support role to a rampaging Mitch Johnson in the 2013/14 Ashes was pivotal. His delivery to dismiss Alistair Cook at Perth in 2013/14 is beyond description:


His 7 wickets in the 3rd Test at Cape Town in 2014 helped win the series deciding Test. Eleven wickets at an average of 14 in two Test in Sri Lanka in 2011, including 5/62 in the second innings of the Galle Test, showed his capabilities in the sub-continent. A pity he was never fit enough to play a Test in India.

Ryan Harris finishes his Test career with an incredibly similar bowling record to the also injury prone (probably more so) West Australian left armer Bruce Reid. Both played 27 Tests. Both took 113 wickets. Reid at an average of 24.63. Harris averaging 23.52. What might have been given an extended run for both.

Ryan Harris appeals as the kind of guy you’d love to have a beer with. A guy you’d want bowling for you on a tough 5th day track. He’ll be missed. But we are well placed for fast bowlers. He’s been replaced by Pat Cummins, also wonderfully talented, also has had his battles with injury. Fast bowling at the elite level is a tough gig.

Well played RJ Harris. Thanks for the wickets.

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Spot on Luke. ‘Rhino’ seemed to come out of nowhere such was his profile. When he first put on the baggy Green I didn’t jerry he was the fellow who’d played for South Australia. By the time I realised who he was he’d become a valuable contributor for Australia. In an all too brief time he proved himself a world class bowler and a match winner. Good onya ‘Rhino’ !


  2. Dave Brown says

    Well put, Luke. That Cook ball is fast bowling perfection.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Luke as a south aussie I will always be angry at the incompetence in allowing,Rhino to go to Qld
    not offering him security when he had well and truly arrived taking wickets regularly on the unforgiving ad oval was mind boggling with more than a hint of,Fonzy from happy days unable to say the word wrong sums up,Ian McGlachlan and Rod Marsh in particular.Rhino did bloom late in that the majority of us saw a reasonable cricketer playing for,Salisburt but we unde estimated the will and determination as a bloke similar to,Boof no bullshit sums up,Rhino.Luke the similarities re,Bruce Reid career is quite remarkable for those of us traditionlists who love the ashes battle,Rhino was fantastic with his line and length perfect and he could bat thanks,Rhino thanks,Luke

  4. Good stuff Luke. I’ll miss Rhino’s shuffling approach to the wickets. He always looked like a farmer who’d just slept in the barn. There was something reassuring about that.

  5. Thanks Luke. Harris was the rare breed of quick bowlers with the brains to think a batsman out and the skill and technique to execute consistently.
    Who can forget his last over against South Africa in the Third Test last year on one (make that a half) leg. Two wickets to give us the series win when a draw looked inevitable.
    Heart as big as Phar Lap’s. Thanks Ryan.

  6. Harris was a class act full stop and I will remember him in only that respect. Well played Ryan

  7. A fitting tribute Luke. Too many ex players aspire to coach but with his intellect and insight Harris would be excellent.

  8. Excellent tribute, Luke.
    Ryan Harris’ transformation from honest Sth Australian medium-pacer to genuine Test quick must surely be one of the most remarkable cricket stories of the past decade. I remember reading an interview in which Harris said that he was as surprised as everyone else when he started to find extra yards of pace in training and in matches.
    I, like many others, will never forget those wickets in Cape Town. And that catch he took in Adelaide last season.
    What a cricketer!
    I am not sure if I have ever been so sad about a cricketer’s retirement.

  9. Luke,
    Great story. I admired Harris. It’s a shame he didn’t play more Tests.
    Great statistical analysis of Harris and Reid.
    Dips, you made me laugh with the farmer and the barn line.

  10. Raj Singh says

    Great write up Luke one of the best and someone you would always want in your team. I will always remember those last 2 balls in Sth Africa when he could barely walk but summoned the strength to will his country to a series victory .

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