Thursday, 25 June 2009

An original thought? Please?

With the Twenty 20 World Cup well and truly won, and Pakistan's victory must rank as the most heartwarming result for world cricket, apart from possibly a West Indies win, the glare of cricket journalism is now focused intently on The Ashes. On Sunday The Observer ran a piece from Devon Malcolm, sharing some Ashes memories and reminiscing about his various dalliances with Australian batsmen. Dev also took his opportunity to put the boot into another of cricket's genuine troubled strikers, Steve Harmison, claiming that Harmy doesn't look "in the right frame of mind" to spearhead England's attack this summer. This is the second time in recent memory that Malcolm has had a dig at Harmy, the first being in his blog on The Wisden Cricketer site, and while Harmison has certainly had his low points recently in terms of performance, Malcom's comments seem motivated by the kind of agenda that the media seem insistent on pushing when it comes to Harmison, rather than a balanced, genuine assessment of the facts. Do we really need another pundit giving us the incisive, original view that Harmison isn't firing as he should be? Why not find someone who has something interesting or insightful to say? Since his recall against South Africa last summer, Harmison has not played two tests in a row, and the two series England have been involved in were both fast bowler's graveyards, so where exactly are these countless "chances" that the media insist that Harmison has squandered? And how does he not look "in the right frame of mind"? Even a passing glimpse at the last two Durham County Championship scorecards shows that Harmy is performing, and his bowling was reportedly of the very highest order against Warwickshire, fast, hostile and accurate, and on one of the deadest tracks in the country. It would be sadly predictable if we never saw Harmison's loping action for England again, or his pained face after being laced through the covers for four, but sadder still if we never saw scope for human fallibility in the game, a wide or four, or a loose ball, or someone who struggles with the mental aspects of elite sport, or life in general for that matter.
Oh, and Devon? Were you not a little loose yourself? And without the 221 test wickets to show for it, as well...