Is there a place for Hilfenhaus and Harris in the Ashes squad?

Brian Zhang Roar Rookie

25 Have your say

    With the Ashes in just under six months’ time, the issue of which bowlers will make the trip to England looks settled.

    The bowling attack will probably consist of Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird.

    But there is a question as to whether the two veterans, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris, will be able to force their way back into that side.

    Ryan Harris is only just starting his comeback and is set to captain an Australian Country side in Queensland.

    Harris last played an international match in April against the West Indies, and last played a competitive match during the IPL in which he sustained a serious shoulder injury.

    Instead of having major surgery that would have kept him out of playing for a year, he opted for a quick-fix procedure that would only have him out for three months.

    When Ben Hilfenhaus broke down with a side strain during the first Test against Sri Lanka, Jackson Bird was handed a Boxing Day debut.

    He made the most of the opportunity presented to him: 11 wickets in the two Tests, and most now see him almost certain for an Ashes trip.

    Mitchell Johnson is now back to bowling near his best, something that saw him become the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2009.

    Peter Siddle has continued to lead the attack in fine fashion and Mitchell Starc has also impressed this summer. With James Pattinson and Pat Cummins also set to make the trip, there may not be room for Hilfenhaus or Harris.

    It was only a year ago when we saw Ben Hilfenhaus recalled to the Australian side for the series against India in which he took 27 wickets at 17 to be the leading wicket taker. Not only was he bowling over 140km/h consistently but he was also swinging the ball both ways.

    Ryan Harris has been considered as Australia’s best fast bowler by many over the last two years, and yet he has only played 12 Test matches.

    He has claimed 47 wickets at a terrific average of 25 with a strike rate of 49, but only on three occasions in his career has Harris been able to play consecutive Test matches. Because of this he has not been able to cement a spot in the Test side.

    In the three Test matches Hilfenhaus played this season he looked like a shadow of his former self. He was down on pace, he wasn’t swinging the ball like he was last year, and looked like he was carrying some sort of injury.

    It was much like his 2010/11 form where he had a horrendous Ashes campaign.

    There’s no doubt that both bowlers, when in form and fit, are strong contenders to be in the best bowling attack for Australia.

    In the 2009 Ashes in England, Hilfenhaus was the best of the bowlers from both sides with 22 wickets at 28. He was able to consistently swing the Duke ball away from the right handed English batsmen and also both ways to the left handers.

    Ryan Harris, in the 2010/11 series, was the best of the Aussie bowlers in Adelaide when Australia were getting trounced, and frequently troubled the English batsman in Perth.

    The selectors are clearly keen to pick young talent to complement an attack led by Siddle and Johnson.

    The question is whether they will gamble with another veteran in Hilfenhaus or Harris, both of whom have been prone to injuries throughout their careers.

    The Ashes are here! After all the build-up, follow all the first Test action between Australia and England with our Ashes live scores and blog.