Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris has declared himself a certain starter for the first Test against India, but could say the same for all of his teammates a day after Phillip Hughes’ funeral.
Harris wrote in a column for Fairfax Media that Wednesday’s funeral in batsman Hughes’ hometown of Macksville, New South Wales, had reminded him that, despite the solemn occasion, people wanted the team to play.
“Seeing the green and gold streamers was a reminder these people want to see some cricket played, want to see us get out there and beat the Indians,” he said in comments published yesterday, referring to Australia’s national sporting colors. “One thing I noticed late on Wednesday was how the mood in the group had begun to shift. There were a few conversations about getting back to playing. The funeral was a bit of a milestone. As well as to pay your respects, it gives you a bit of closure.”
“I know some guys have really struggled — some haven’t even picked up a bat or ball yet since it happened,” Harris said. “They’re just not going to know, until they pick a bat or ball up, whether or not they’re going to be capable of playing.”
Harris spent most the year recovering from knee surgery and missed the Test series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates, but said he felt ready for India.
“My knee that got operated on after the South Africa series is going really well — so well it’s almost scary,” he said.
Most of Australia’s players arrived in Adelaide yesterday, the same day they were originally to start the first Test in Brisbane.
The Brisbane match was postponed until after Adelaide, which was brought forward to start on Tuesday.
Batsman Shaun Marsh has been called up, joining his brother Mitch in the squad, in a possible indication that captain Michael Clarke is still an injury doubt.
Clarke, who has been suffering from a hamstring problem, took a leading role in comforting the Hughes family after the death last week of his friend and former teammate from injuries suffered in a domestic match.
Shaun Marsh, 31, has played nine Tests since his debut in 2011, but was dropped after failing to score a single run while batting at No. 4 in the second Test against South Africa in February.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann said in a newspaper column that he accepted that next week might still be too soon for some of his players to return to action.
“We hope the boys can find the inner strength to play the game in the way Phillip would have wanted in Adelaide next week and that they can honor what he had done,” he wrote in the Australian newspaper.
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