'Tall and dangerous' Harmison not out of contention for Ashes: Saker

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London, May 19 (ANI): England's new bowling coach David Saker has said that he is not ruling out fast bowler Steve Harmison as a contender for the Ashes series in Australia this year.

"There's no way Steve Harmison is out of the picture. I'm not going to write off someone as tall as he is and someone who can really cause some damage to the Australian team," Saker told The Wisden Cricketer magazine.

"I know the Australian batters sometimes talk about him as one of the hardest guys to face and he troubles them more than anybody. I want to see the best XI represent England. I'm never age-biased in the way I pick a team," he said.

The former Victoria coach is gearing up for a highly competitive Ashes series and said that England's bowlers will be up for the battle.

"I can assure you that the English bowlers won't be backing down. You've got to really get into the contest and be competitive. Most fast bowlers are like that.

"The ones that come in and out of the game are the ones that aren't that competitive. The ones that last are unbelievably competitive people. All of the fast bowlers I've met have all had that competitive streak and the aggression comes out when it's needed."

But Saker believes England must add defence to their aggression to be successful against Australia.

"You've got to have a good defence as a bowler, not just a good attack. The English team is a good attacking side but at times they leak runs. And that's one of my jobs, to make sure we don't leak as many runs in those middle overs when you really need to defend," Saker said. (ANI)

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