Harmison's role crucial for England's Ashes defence, says Ian Chappell
by Cricketarchive Staff

Player:IM Chappell, SJ Harmison, A Flintoff, KP Pietersen, AJ Strauss

DateLine: 25th September 2006


Former Australian captain Ian Chappell said England’s chances of retaining the Ashes later this year depend largely on the performance of their strike fast bowler Steve Harmison.


England defends the Ashes they won at home last year against Australia in the first of five Test matches in Brisbane, starting on November 23.


“So much depends on how Steve Harmison bowls. It may be a reason why they gave Andrew Flintoff the captaincy — apparently he's very matey with Harmison,” said Chappell. “Some of the stuff I saw from him against Pakistan (in the recent Test series) was absolute crap. But if he bowls as well as he can, England will be right in it.”


Harmison missed the recent one-day series against Pakistan with back problems.


Chappell said England's decision to opt for Flintoff as skipper over Andrew Strauss showed a change in attitude with Australia's traditional Ashes foes.


“They could have gone the safe route and made Strauss captain. But they won the Ashes by taking the aggressive route and picking someone like Kevin Pietersen," Chappell said.


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