Birmingham: Stephen Harmison is confident he will be able to focus on the task in hand should his recall to the England squad see him in action against South Africa in the third Test at Edgbaston starting Wednesday.
The fast bowler's inclusion in a 13-man party was the most eye-catching decision when the England selectors unveiled their squad at the weekend following a 10-wicket second Test defeat at Headingley that left them 1-0 down in the four-Test series with two to play.
England appear to be banking on the Durham fast bowler's extra pace to upset the South Africa top order although it was the failure of the home side's batsmen that proved the key to their undoing in Leeds.
Harmison was dropped after England's first Test defeat away to New Zealand in March, having too often failed to make the most of his natural talent.
And question marks have also been raised about his resolve, especially away from home, with his extraordinarily wide first ball in the 2006/07 Ashes symbolic of what some believe is a flaky mental approach.
Former England captain Michael Atherton is among those who remain unconvinced by Harmison's credentials, saying his return was "as uninspiring as his recent record in international cricket and his attitude".
But Harmison, tenth in England's all-time list of most successful Test bowlers with 212 wickets, insists the fuss won't bother him.
"I'm not looking to prove any points, the selectors made a decision and everybody is talking about them," said Harmison, who has taken 75 wickets in all cricket this season.
"They made a call months ago to leave me and Matthew Hoggard out and went six games without changing the team. They went six games playing well and at the time it was the right decision.
"Now they made a choice last week and it didn't work for them, the one in New Zealand did. I've got a chance now to stake my claim and I'm looking forward to it."
He added: "I can only do what I've been doing and if I play this week or next week it doesn't matter as long as I'm at that stage where I'm near the top of the ladder at where I want to be.
"I've got to get in the team and stay in the team. Vaughany (England captain Michael Vaughan) knows what he can get out of me once everything is going well and I feel, with overs under my belt, I'm confident of doing that."
And he was adamant he had never lost his desire to play Test cricket, having retired from one-day internationals before last year's World Cup.
"A lot of people thought you'd never see me in an England shirt again, but I was never one of them and that is the thing. If I was one then I'd have gladly said I couldn't carry on and pack it in, but no.
"I asked what I had to do, I've gone away knuckled down and done it. That is what I wanted to do because I've always wanted to play for England.
"I've missed the atmosphere. It is great playing for Durham and I love it, but the buzz of the first morning is a Test match is not something you get playing at the Riverside."
Harmison continued: "The thing for me is to be constantly playing and I think in the eight months after I had my hernia operation (last year) I only played five or six first-class games," he added.
"I said I'd bowl better once I've had a long run up of bowling.
"Sometimes you need to take time away from the game and away from the big stage to get everything back in a groove and get everything right to actually come back."
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur couldn't resist a chance to get under England's skin by saying a decision to play Harmison would be a "quick fix", go against their long-term planning for next year's Ashes series and cause them severe selection problems.
"It is just how they fit Harmison into the team. Do they risk going with one less batter with Tim Ambrose at six and Andrew Flintoff at seven and a long tail starting at eight?," Arthur said.
"Or do they go with Collingwood at six, Flintoff at seven and Ambrose at eight and a bit less on the bowling front but more of a strong batting line-up? That is their decision."