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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 19:12 UK

Harmison returns to one-day squad

Steve Harmison
Harmison last played one-day cricket for England in 2006

Fast bowler Steve Harmison has ended his one-day international retirement and returned to England's squad for the series against South Africa.

The 29-year-old Durham star had retired from international one-day cricket after the 2006-07 Ashes series.

But he will replace the injured Ryan Sidebottom for the first match of the series against South Africa on Friday.

"Due to recent injuries in the England camp the opportunity has arisen for me to play in this series," he said.

"It's something I have been thinking about for a period of time."


Harmison's return follows his successful recall to the Test side earlier this month.

He last played one-day cricket for England against Australia in October, 2006.

"I decided to retire from England's ODI team for a number reasons, one being the amount of time I was spending away from my family," he said.

"Now that my family is settled and my bowling is settled I feel I have something to offer England's ODI side and am looking forward to playing a part in the NatWest Series against South Africa."

Harmison's recall is thought to have been heavily influenced by new captain Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen played a huge role in Harmison's return to the Test arena earlier this month and is a big admirer of the Durham bowler.

Certainly his county captain Dale Benkenstein feels Harmison's return will provde a huge boost to the England one-day squad.

At the moment my focus is on doing well in the ODIs against South Africa

Steve Harmison

"I think they need him desperately in one-day cricket," he said.

"Especially in the last couple of overs of the powerplays and then going through the middle period where guys are getting ones and twos - if they get in they generally play it how they want it - but he's the guy who can let you still attack as a captain.

"It would give you a totally different option to a lot of sides - they don't have that."

But whether Harmison becomes a long-term fixture in the one-day set up remains to be seen.

England have seven one-day internationals to play in India later this year, which would remove Harmison from his family for seven weeks - something he has been reluctant to do in the past.

Harmison himself is refusing to look that far ahead and is just focusing on Friday's day/night game with South Africa.

"At the moment my focus is on doing well in the ODIs against South Africa and I'm not looking beyond that at this stage," he said.

see also
England ready for one-day series
21 Aug 08 |  England
Harmison relief at fine comeback
07 Aug 08 |  England
Harmison retires from one-dayers
21 Dec 06 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket

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