Ashes scores can be settled in 2009

Published: Monday, October 6, 2008, 12:47 [IST]
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London: England can beat Australia in next summer"s Ashes series here, claims fast bowler Steve Harmison.

Looking forward to the forthcoming cricketing season, a recharged Harmison told The Guardian: "This is going to be an exciting and intense 12 months of cricket and I cannot wait. People will go on about the Stanford series and the money that is on offer, but every single Englishman knows the Ashes series against Australia is the one to really win."

"The money on offer for the Stanford tournament is a lot, but you''ve got to win it first. We are going out there to represent our country, just as we will do in India and the West Indies this winter," he added.

Harmison said winning the Ashes next year was a "realistic goal".

England won the last home contest, in 2005, but were whitewashed 5-0, only the second such result in the Ashes, in the return in 2006-07.

"I do feel I''ve got a bit of a score to settle. I know what it''s like to win the Ashes and I know what it is like to lose the Ashes 5-0. It''s the same for Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss.

"I think it can happen, I really do, but we''ve got a hell of a lot of cricket to play between now and then. I think we''ve got ten different series in the next 12 months and I''d like to play in and win them all."

Less than seven months ago, Harmison''s future with England looked in doubt. He was dropped after the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton along with Matthew Hoggard. However, he forced his way back with a stellar county season; he finished with 60 wickets in 12 games as Durham won their first Championship.

Harmison was recalled for the final Test against South Africa at The Oval, under new captain Kevin Pietersen, and was later convinced to walk out of his exile from international limited-overs games.

"It is a season which began with me at my lowest ebb, but it is one I will look back on with an enormous sense of satisfaction," Harmison said.

"I''ve achieved my own personal goal of getting back into the England team and Durham have won the title, I couldn''t have asked for much more. This has been a fantastic season for me, unbelievable really. We had our disappointments at Durham, losing in two semi-finals, but we kept on going."


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