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Harris Abandons County Plans After Exhausting Maiden Test Summer

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 15, 2019, 10:09 AM IST
Harris Abandons County Plans After Exhausting Maiden Test Summer

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Australian Marcus Harris has decided to abandon his plans of playing county cricket this year and will take a break for a while following what has been an exhausting maiden Test summer for the 26-year-old.

The left-hander was planning to play for one of the English county sides to prepare for the Ashes against England, but has now opted to rest in order to recharge himself for what he thinks will be his first overseas tour.

"I was looking at it for a little while," Harris told cricket.com.au at the launch of the Grassroots Cricket Fund, which will pump $30 million into cricket clubs around Australia.

"But once I got to the point where I was actually pretty worn out after the Tests, I thought the best thing for me was then have a break.

"I definitely thought about it, but then I thought if I don't have a break, I'll be pretty much non-stop for the whole time. (My manager) was in discussions, but nothing too serious. I shut it down after a little bit because I didn't want to lead anyone astray."

Meanwhile his fellow Test opening contenders - Joe Burns (Lancashire), Matthew Renshaw (Kent) and Cameron Bancroft (Durham) - will all travel to England in order to push their claims for the spot in the Ashes squad. David Warner too will be back by then and Usman Khawaja is someone who boasts a strong record at the top of the order, which means Harris' spot in the squad is far from secured.

However, Harris, who has managed 327 runs in his first six Tests, said the remainder of the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield and a couple of Australia A assignments in June and July will provide him adequate opportunities to retain his Test spot for the Ashes.

"I know if I make some runs, that stuff will look after itself," he said. "There's plenty of water to go under the bridge.

"I missed an opportunity in the Sri Lanka series, but that's cricket. Sometimes that's the way things go.

"I put myself in a position to make some big runs on a few occasions. I had a few really good partnerships and while it was disappointing not to get a big score, hopefully I'll learn from that and it'll hold me in good stead.

"If someone said to me at the start of the summer that I'd play six Tests and win a series, I would have told them to get stuffed. It was great to be a part of it and great to be around that group and learn so much."

Harris, who will feature in the remainder of the 2018-19 BBL and Sheffield Shield encounters, admitted that playing Test cricket took more toll on him mentally and physically than he expected.

"I worked out towards the end of the summer how tiring it can be playing Test cricket," he said.

"(Victoria and Melbourne Renegades coach Andrew McDonald) said he could tell that I was tired, and I didn't even realise until a bit afterwards.

"Going back to the Big Bash for a week in between Test series and then the two Tests against Sri Lanka, you're just not as sharp. You're not so much physically tired, more mentally tired.

"But having played Test cricket now, going forward I think I'll know how to manage my time a bit better and prepare."
First Published: February 14, 2019, 3:40 PM IST
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