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Moxon rubbishes ‘gamble’ talk as Steve Harmison spearheads Yorkshire attack
Steve Harmison has been handed the key role of leading Yorkshire’s bowling attack during his debut against Hampshire today.
The on-loan Durham fast bowler has been signed by director of cricket Martyn Moxon following a calf injury to Ryan Sidebottom and the unavailability of Australian Mitchell Starc as the White Rose county look to crank up their LV= County Championship division two promotion push.
Out of favour at his home county, the two-time Ashes winner is very much in favour with the Headingley hierarchy of Moxon and first-team coach Jason Gillespie.
Harmison has only taken six wickets in three Championship matches for Durham in 2012, which suggests he is past his best and the signing is somewhat of a gamble.
But Moxon is convinced Yorkshire can see an upturn in form over the next month from the player who has 226 wickets from 63 Test matches to his name.
In all, the 33-year-old has 303 international wickets under his belt, including a best haul of 7-12 in a Test match against the West Indies. He was ranked as the world’s best bowler at the height of his powers, and still carries the nickname of ‘Grievous Bodily Harmison’.
“I don’t think signing Steve is a gamble at all. He has that ability to take wickets, and with his pace and his height he gives us something different,” said Moxon, who worked with Harmison in his time as Durham’s coach.
“He’s a wicket-taking bowler, and that’s what we feel we need with the bowlers we’ve currently got. He’s got that cutting edge and something different about him.
“Having spoken to Steve, he is very keen to come and play for us, which is important. He’s disappointed he’s not in the Durham team and wants to play first-team cricket. I think we’re getting him at a good time.
“Obviously, with the people we’ve got missing we feel we needed that bit of a spearhead if you like. Harmy can provide that for us.
“As you know, we want to try to get out of division two, and the bowlers we’ve got left in the squad are still in the development phase. We want and need to win now, so Harmy with his ability and experience fits the bill at this time.”
Harmison has been signed for an initial month’s period to play only four-day cricket, and Yorkshire travel to Hampshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire in that time.
With Durham coach Geoff Cook admitting the player does not fit into new captain Paul Collingwood’s plans at the Riverside, the loan could be extended if things go well.
But it could also be much shorter than a month should Durham exercise the clause in the deal that allows them to recall Harmison should Graham Onions get called up into England’s squad for the forthcoming Test series against South Africa.
Harmison’s last first-team appearance came in a Championship match against Warwickshire at the Riverside between June 5 and 8 when he took 2-49 from 16 overs in the visitors’ only innings.