London, Aug.13 : Former England opener and captain Geoffrey Boycott has said that fast bowler Steve Harmison needs to convert himself into a long-term England player, rather than being an off and on player.
In an article that appears in The Daily Telegraph, Boycott said: "I can see great potential for a new-ball attack of Harmison and Anderson if they can both sustain the levels they showed in this (Oval) Test. They are a contrasting partnership, just as Harmison and Matthew Hoggard used to be."
Boycott further goes on to support England captain Kevin Pietersen asking Harmison to reconsider his one-day retirement.
"That's absolutely right; England need him to come back and strike up that same partnership with Anderson in all forms of the game. He may complain about the travel and the absence from his family, but I can tell him you are a long time retired," said Boycott.
"Harmison is a professional sportsman. He doesn't want to get to the end of his career then look back and wish he had played more for England," he added.
"It is a great honour to play for your country, and it should be all the more enjoyable when your captain is right behind you, telling you that you're the man England need to turn their fortunes around," the former opener said.
"I thought the balance of this side (selected for the Oval test) looked much better... The challenge for England now is to maintain the intensity and commitment that they showed at the Oval.
That's what makes the Australians so good. If you look at their attack now, their bowlers are not special. In terms of natural ability, you might even say that England have them covered. But the Aussies' mental attitude, their consistency, is so exceptional.
They may not be better bowlers but they are more disciplined, more focused, and that is where they score over England, who have too many bad days," said Boycott.
"It is up to the players to maintain the highest of standards. They have to take individual responsibility; they can't expect the captain to get them pumped up for a match all the time. The number of bowlers pressing for selection should help," he added.
"Above all, Harmison's success in the last week has proven the value of regular first-class cricket. We saw the same with Ian Bell; the only innings of substance he played in the series came after he had just got a double hundred for Warwickshire," he said.
The England and Wales Cricket Board must be careful when they draw up the schedule for the 2010 season onwards, he concluded.