Vaughan must guard against leaning too heavily on Harmison

The single most important development in England's cricket over the last 12 months has been the emergence of Steve Harmison as the genuine article. He has become a high-class fast bowler, having taken 49 wickets in seven and a half Test matches since the end of last season. For all that, Michael Vaughan must be careful not to overload him. This will always be a temptation, especially when Simon Jones is not there to support Harmison.

The single most important development in England's cricket over the last 12 months has been the emergence of Steve Harmison as the genuine article. He has become a high-class fast bowler, having taken 49 wickets in seven and a half Test matches since the end of last season. For all that, Michael Vaughan must be careful not to overload him. This will always be a temptation, especially when Simon Jones is not there to support Harmison.

In the two and half Test matches which have completed against New Zealand in this series, Harmison has already bowled 144 overs. This figure will be at least in the 160s by the end of the match and there are still four Test matches to come against the West Indies which, if this rate is maintained, would almost certainly produce upwards of 200 more overs - taking Harmison's tally of Test overs for the season close to 300.

Although Harmison's run-up and action have smoothed down noticeably in the last year, his action is still more physical than some fast bowlers who seem to do no more than purr up to the wicket. An over rate like this is going not only to put a strain on Harmison's body, it is also going to make him an extremely tired young man.

Vaughan must be careful to pace Harmison even though he will always be sorely tempted to turn to him whenever two opposing batsmen begin to build a partnership. On this flat Trent Bridge pitch Harmison always looked the most likely of the England bowlers to take a wicket even though his final figures of 3 for 80 were not particularly startling.

Test matches come thick and fast these days, so a fast bowler's lot is inevitably an increasingly hard one. In 1932-33, in the infamous "Bodyline "series, Harold Larwood bowled 220 overs in the five Tests for his 33 wickets. In 1963 against the West Indies Fred Trueman sent down 236 overs in the series for 34 wickets and in 1948 against England Ray Lindwall got through 222 for his 27 wickets - and all three of them bowled their overs at a much quicker rate than they do today.

The fast bowler's payload has obviously increased with the rise in the number of Tests. It is therefore imperative that in the instance of Harmison, Vaughan protects him all that he reasonably can. It is also important that England's main strike bowler does not play in all the many one-day games that England now play.

The coach, Duncan Fletcher, will be acutely aware of this and must use, as one is sure he will, the authority that a central contract gives him over Harmison to ensure meaningful rest. There must be no question of an early burn-out with Harmison.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing