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Hussain saviour of my career: Harmison

London: England fast bowler Stephen Harmison has credited Nasser Hussain with saving his international career.

Harmison said England captain Hussain’s much-criticised chats between deliveries during the Ashes tour of Australia had helped him get through spells where he struggled with his direction and lost his run-up.

“I can’t thank him enough for the way he handled a young fast bowler who could have gone to pieces,” Harmison, 24, told the Daily Mirror.

Former England stars such as Ian Botham slammed Hussain’s frequent interventions from mid-off, saying they were a hindrance rather than a help to the bowlers.

“One or two ex-players have criticised Nasser for nagging his bowlers too much, but his handling of the situation was brilliant,” Harmison said ahead of Thursday’s second Test against Zimbabwe.

Harmison’s tour began in embarrassing fashion when he sent down seven successive wides in the opening match at Lilac Hill.

He was left out of the team for the first Test at Brisbane but Simon Jones’ cruciate ligament injury in that match saw Harmison get his chance.

But during the Perth Test match, Harmison lost his run-up and it looked as if his international career might be over before it had started.

And the six-foot, nine-inch quick, currently England’s fastest bowler, said Hussain’s intervention at the WACA had made all the difference.

“For me the biggest issue was easily the Perth Test match where I lost my run-up completely on the second morning and Nasser helped me through the crisis.

“That was the first time in my life I have thought ‘please don’t throw me the ball, I don’t want to bowl’ — but his encouragement was priceless. I was struggling, but he refused to take me off. He just said: ‘keep going, you’ll get it back’ and tried to take my mind off it.”

Harmison eventually finished the Ashes series with nine wickets at 50 apiece.

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