DateLine: 20th February 2007
A couple of years ago Dennis Lillee described Steve Harmison as the future. And it can be stated quite categorically that the tall, gangling England spearhead has lived up to the early promise most gloriously. A very tall fast bowler can be a pretty intimidating prospect and Harmison has made use of his great height “ not to mention all the other qualities that go with top class fast bowling “ admirably to be a threat to the best of batsmen. Ask the West Indians who came up against Harmison at his best at Sabina Park early in 2004. In an awesome performance Harmison in 12 unchanged overs took seven for 12“ the most economical seven-wicket analysis in Test history “ to shoot out the hosts for 47 and bowl England to a ten-wicket victory. Skipper Michael Vaughan hailed it as one of the greatest spells of bowling by an England player. Harmison made steady improvement since making his Test debut against India in 2002 but over the last couple of years his place as Englands premier fast bowler has never been in doubt. Indeed, Harmison has gone from strength to strength drawing fitting comparisons to the great Curtly Ambrose. His speed, bounce and a painful capacity for jamming fingers against bat handles have made him one of the feared fast bowlers around. Not unexpectedly he played a notable part in the Ashes triumph in 2005 and an eleven-wicket haul against Pakistan at Old Trafford the following year proved that he was as unrelenting as ever.