In his second blog for ecb.co.uk, Durham seamer Jamie Harrison reports positive news on the injury front and offers up a bullish Ashes prediction. The 22-year-old also hails Durham head coach Geoff Cook, who is on the road to recovery after suffering a heart attack.
Since my last blog I’ve been involved quite a few times with the first-team squads for the Twenty20s and the one-dayers, as well as a championship match against Derbyshire, although I haven’t broken into the XI as yet.
Being in squads shows that the coaches think I’m doing all the right things on the pitch to warrant getting close to the first team. Like I said last time, I’m doing everything I can off the pitch and things are going well.
This time last year I was sat on the couch watching Jeremy Kyle and playing Call of Duty, so I’m enjoying playing cricket at the minute to be honest with you. I’m enjoying bowling and I’m also enjoying being able to get up and down the stairs in the morning without walking like a 60-year-old man!
The shin injuries have completely gone. I’ve had no pain with them, so it shows my rehab and winter programme has worked perfectly. It finally lifts the burden of having that injury shadow above myself.
I’ve been working on a lot of one-day stuff especially. Nowadays, left-armers are very useful and very effective in one-day cricket, especially at the death with the change of angle. My red-ball stuff at the start has always been something I’m comfortable with, but my death bowling needed a bit of work, so I’ve been doing a lot of practice with my yorkers and wide yorkers really, just trying to get that up to the standard I’m happy with and get me comfortable when I hopefully do get that chance to play.
I think I took around 18 wickets in the (Second XI) Twenty20 competition at an average of around 11 or 12. My start of innings stuff is back to where I want it to be and where I knew I could get to when I was planning on coming back over the winter. I’m just working on every part of my game - my death stuff, slower balls, variations - because I think the day you stop learning is the day you’ve got nothing left to give.
I might not have played for the first team yet this season, but Max Morley, a really good mate of mine who is a proper Joey Essex wannabe - sunbeds, jeans four sizes too small, all that sort of stuff - made his debut.
He only joined the academy last year, coming from club cricket in Yorkshire, and he’s come on leaps and bounds. His control of pace and, in fact, his whole cricket has improved from playing at a decent standard and he did well considering it was his debut.
We all felt it recently when Geoff Cook sadly had his heart attack. He’s the father figure of our club, does so much and if you cut him he would bleed Durham County Cricket Club.
He lives for this club and he’s a great man. He’s very passionate and honest, which is what you need, and he nurtures young players perfectly.
Happily, he has since returned home and was up and around, fit and well, watching us play on Friday. It’s great that we’ve got such a key member of our county and our place of work back up and running.
A few of the lads at Durham have stepped up well this year. Badger (Scott Borthwick) has got promoted in the order to three and taken that role on perfectly, while Rocky (Mark Stoneman) has been given the captaincy in one-day cricket and taken over where Diva (Michael Di Venuto) left off. He’s shown what a talent he is.
Away from county cricket, it’s great to see so many people in the stands for the Ashes and the passion that a lot of people have for cricket. Obviously we’ve got the Test up at our spot in a couple of weeks. The whole world will be looking at the north east, which is great.
I still say we’ll beat them 5-0. I’ve got every belief we’re going to hammer them.