I have a feeling I'm going to be chuntering and shaking my head long into my grey years well after Steve Harmison retires. I still wax lyrical about him to all my friends, as well I should. Here is a bowler so frighteningly good "on his day" as to make his path to greatness a formality. Yet we now all know this will never happen.
And we thought we had problems with Andrew Caddick. His partnership with Darren Gough was a vital cog in England's resurgence in the early 2000s yet Caddick was England's Jekyll & Hyde. Which will turn up today? We never knew, and we're similarly in the dark about Steve Harmison. We just don't know. Another dreadful display against Australia no doubt has Ponting and co. licking their lips at the dross he might serve up. They'd be wise not to get too cocky too soon, though; Harmison can destroy a side in about 40 minutes if he so chooses. Equally, his confidence can be ruined in half that time. Reason I'm rambling is this:
But paceman Steve Harmison showed again that while he has developed since his last tour of Australia, the danger of him turning in horror performances remains as clear and present as it was when his rhythm deserted him in Perth four years ago.
I'd forgotten the horrors of listening to that tour four years ago, and of Harmison's yips and general inadequacy. He has improved in consistency since then, and delivered match-winning performances to remind us of his potential. But the p word is not one we should associate with him now. As he himself admitted this week, prior to England's game against Australia, he is an experienced bowler now. Yet why, and how, is he still utterly unable to bowl like one?
Oh woe is us.