Harmison signs new Durham deal and wishes tourists well

Steve Harmison insists it is time to "move on" from international cricket and concentrate on his career with Durham. The 31-year-old fast bowler, who was left out of England's 16-man party for the four-Test tour to South Africa, yesterday committed himself to the county champions by signing a four-year contract.

Although he has not ruled out further international action, Harmison, who has taken more than 400 first-class wickets for Durham, believes England are in safe hands. He said: "I've said everything I wanted to say on the England front – it's time to move on. England are going through an exciting time with a group of young fast bowlers in South Africa. The pitches will be helpful for them and I really want them to do well.

"I loved playing for England and I would if it came again – but in 2010-11 [at the Ashes in Australia] in my opinion I'm not sure my body would be up to being on that tour, which is 20 months away. They've said 'we're going with someone else' and that's fine by me. I hope they stick with that.

"From my point of view that's why I wanted to sign a longer contract with Durham – to prove I want to be here for a long time. South Africa is going to be really tough and there are going to be some hard days coming up."