Ryan Harris goes under the knife on Tuesday, cherishing a winter in the gym that he hopes will push his beleaguered body through to the 2015 Ashes campaign.
Harris’s resilience and ability to play with pain has been a hallmark of his late-blooming Test career.
On Wednesday he took it to new levels.
Harris overcame a hip flexor injury to bowl Australia to victory on day five of the Test series decider, when two days earlier coach Darren Lehmann didn’t expect him to bowl one delivery let alone 147.
The 34-year-old’s reward is overdue knee surgery, which he postponed during the 2013-14 Ashes, and the operation means he is skipping the lucrative Indian Premier League.
If it were anyone but Harris, pundits would be lining up to put him to pasture: the age, the long history of injuries, the toll fast bowling takes on one’s body.
But Harris has consistently showed since making his Test debut in 2010 that he is a different beast, and only a brave man would doubt his latest injury comeback.
“I’ve got a few bone spurs rubbing on my PCL and ACL … apparently because they’re shaving bone it’s going to be quite tender for a bit,” he said.
“The good thing is living in Brisbane I’ve got the NCC (National Cricket Centre) with all the facilities there and the best people looking after me.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get up and going again.
“I want to keep playing here as long as I can.”
Australia’s next Test is not until October against Pakistan and Harris plans to put the rare break to good use.
“Coming into this series I was a little bit underdone fitness wise, I need a good pre-season to build up some strength,” said the man elevated to No.2 in the ICC’s Test bowling rankings.
“My right quad, which I need to be strong, is really small. It needs to be be big and I’ve got a lot of time to do that now.”
Harris has long spoken of his desire to keep playing regular cricket, fearful the many creaking niggles will take hold if he spends too long doing too little.
But this time the pain addict recognised the need for rehab.
“Long breaks aren’t good for me, but this is an enforced one and it’s something I’m looking forward to,” Harris said after his incredible effort.
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