Contrary to reports of his impending retirement Steve Harmison yesterday gave formal notice that he intends to bowl on.
It had been widely suggested that England's fastest bowler would quit Test cricket at the end of this summer in the slipstream of his friend, Andrew Flintoff. But Harmison said: "I have no intention of retiring from Test cricket. The idea that I see this series as a chance of a farewell is not in my thoughts."
Harmison, who is in his most potent form for years and has taken 49 first-class wickets this summer, still harbours hopes of appearing against Australia in the Ashes.
"As much as I love playing for Durham, I'm desperate to play against Australia," he said. "You can't overestimate how desperate. I'd have given everything to have played at Lord's, to be playing now in Birmingham and to play in Leeds. I'm champing at the bit again and the way I'm bowling at the minute, I'd be a handful against any opposition."
Harmison's recall began to look more remote after England awarded an incremental contract – one below a central contract – to his Durham colleague, Graham Onions.