Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harmison Is Firing Back at Snipers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harmison Is Firing Back at Snipers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Steve Harmison has hit back at the snipers he feels have tried to push him out of the England side.

The Durham paceman took the opportunity to round on his detractors yesterday after being confirmed alongside county colleague Paul Collingwood in the England squad for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies.

Harmison has been the subject of much speculation in the national Press, with some critics - including former England bowler Derek Pringle - claiming he has skived off tour duty in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by faking a back injury.

Others hinted that the 25-year-old's commitment was called into question by the selectors and implied he would be dropped.

Harmison was understandably wound up by the smear campaign, but insisted he had always had the support of captain Michael Vaughan and chairman of selectors David Graveney.

"I'm sick of people questioning my attitude," said the Ashington- born strike bowler. "I'll always be the same sort of character, laidback and not really fancying going away from home.

"But it's my job and I do it because it's the job I want to do.

"The only people I would have been disappointed with would have been the selectors had they not picked me, but they have.

"They've proven to me that they never doubted me. I'm not worried about what people have written elsewhere. There were never any quotes from Michael Vaughan or David Graveney saying they were upset with me or that they doubted me. It's come from the southern Press.

"It hasn't so much hurt, it's just irritating. Whenever I pick up an injury people question my attitude." Harmison has only managed one Test since his match-winning performance against the South Africans at the Oval, which won the series for Michael Vaughan's side last summer

But his lone Test since then, against Bangladesh in October, brought him his best international bowling figures of 5-35.

He added: "People weren't questioning my attitude when I helped win us the game against South Africa at the Oval.

"Whenever I have a bad game my attitude supposedly stinks and I'm lolloping around the field like I don't care. …

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