Australia paceman Ryan Harris, who has played a major role in his country’s test resurgence over the last year, during his country’s historic 5-0 win over England that was followed by the 2-1 win against South Africa in their backyard, is to turn his hand to bringing through the next generation after being appointed an assistant coach with the ‘A’ squad.
The popular 34-year-old will help head coach Michael Di Venuto prepare Australia A for a series of first-class and limited overs matches against India A and South Africa A in July and August, Cricket Australia said on Tuesday.
Harris underwent knee surgery last month and faces a long rehabilitation but hopes to be fit for Australia’s two-test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October.
“While Harris is expected to use the series as a chance to rehabilitate from his various ailments, it will also provide him an opportunity to hone his coaching skills with an eye to life after cricket,” Cricket Australia said.
Harris will work with the likes of young test pacemen Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in the 21-man squad, which also features a number of batsmen with international experience, including opener Phillip Hughes and Alex Doolan.
With fitness worries forever dogging Shane Watson, selectors are keen to have a replacement for the injury-prone all-rounder.
“(We are) especially keen for the potential future international all-rounders, James Faulkner, Moises Henriques and Mitchell Marsh to have this opportunity to develop further and enhance their claims,” head selector John Inverarity said.
Though Nathan Lyon has cemented his place as Australia’s premier spinner, two slow bowlers have been named in the squad in 29-year-old left-armer Steven O’Keefe and Queensland legspinner Cameron Boyce.
“Steven topped the Sheffield Shield bowling aggregate and averages with 41 wickets at less than 21 per wicket,” Inverarity added. “Cameron took 26 wickets with his steadily improving leg-breaks.”