|Player:||SJ Harmison, D Gough|
DateLine: 10th October 2009
Former England speedster Darren Gough fears Steve Harmison will never play Test cricket again after the England selectors' "ridiculous" decision.
Harmison was left to ponder his international career on Friday after being left out of the 16-man party which will begin their four-Test tour to South Africa later this month.
In discussions before Friday's announcement, Harmison reportedly made it clear to the England and Wales Cricket Board that he was not willing to tour Australia in 2010/2011.
Gough, fears England will struggle without Harmison and believes his exclusion signals the end of the 30-year-old's international career.
"Steve Harmison's performances with his county and England over the last few years have been up there with the best, so I'm really surprised that he hasn't been picked," said the Yorkshireman.
"The South Africans will be pleased to see Harmy out of the line-up.
"Apparently the reason he hasn't been picked is because he didn't commit to next year - which I find absolutely ridiculous.
"He has been a terrific bowler, and I think that might be the end of Steve Harmison in Test cricket."
In the lead-up to the squad being announced, Harmison had said that he would consider announcing his retirement from international cricket if England did not give assurances he would be more than a "bit-part" player.
Gough refuted any suggestion that Harmison is not committed to playing for his country, however.
"He's a terrific bowler who gives his all for England," he said.
"There's no-one more committed in his heart to England than Steve Harmison."
Gough, who has toured South Africa twice believes Harmison's height would have made him the perfect bowler for the conditions, despite the evidence of his previous attempt there, when he averaged more than 70 runs per wicket in five Tests.
"You need strong, tall bowlers over there who hit the pitch hard and have the pace to do well," Gough reasons.
"(Andrew) Caddick did well there last time (in 1999) because he was a tall bowler - and I think Harmison, even if he wasn't bowling at 95mph, would have had a huge effect over there."