Melbourne: Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris is hoping to be fit in time for the domestic Sheffield Shield season in October as he continues his long recovery from knee surgery.
Harris, who bowled Australia to a rare Test series victory over South Africa on one knee, returned to the nets last week for the first time since going under the knife in March.
The 34-year-old has already been ruled out of Australia's two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October, but is targeting Queensland's first Sheffield Shield match on October 31 to warm up for the home series against India.
"Don't talk months, I've been talking months for a while now," Harris told Cricket Australia's website of his comeback.
"I'm hoping to be back for at least the first Sheffield Shield game for Queensland.
"That's my goal, to try and make sure I get enough bowling in before the India series, which I really want to play in.
"That's me pushing it to the max and wanting to get back as soon as I can.
"But you can ask me when I'm aiming to be back, or you can ask the physios and they'll probably give you a totally different answer."
The stocky paceman has managed his troublesome right knee for much of his career among a litany of other injuries, but has still managed to take 104 wickets in 24 matches at an average of 22.56.
Little wonder Australia are taking a cautious approach to his rehabilitation.
Harris has been restricted to bowling 18 deliveries off three steps twice a week, the Cricket Australia report said.
"It's hard at times to do the programme when I want to do more," said Harris.
"But I trust the programme because the times I've come back in the past two or three years from injury, they've given me solid programmes and they've worked.
"If I had any doubt about it I'd probably want to push a bit more, but there's no doubt that the programmes they set me are spot on."
Harris has previously likened his knee to a ticking time-bomb ready to cut his career short, but is still taking a long view, looking forward to a chance to defend the Ashes on English soil next year after Australia won back the urn with a 5-0 sweep of the series.
"I must admit I've had a few thoughts about (the end of his career), but I still want to play," he said.
"I still want to be part of that team so that's what keeps me going ... and obviously wanting to defend the Ashes. That's the goal and that's what I want to get to."