Harris announces shock retirement

Fast bowler succumbs to knee injury, calls time on all forms of cricket and will be replaced in Ashes squad by young quick Pat Cummins

Five days before the opening delivery of the 2015 Ashes series, Australia has lost one of its key bowling weapons – not just from the tour but from the game – and drafted into their squad young replacement Pat Cummins.

Harris had undertaken an extensive training program following major surgery on his battle-scarred right knee in March last year in order to have him in peak condition for the upcoming Ashes campaign, of which he was deemed a vital part.

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But despite the gruelling work he undertook at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane during the World Cup and the months that followed, pain returned to his knee during his first pre-Ashes hit-out against Kent and his future was immediately in doubt.

Further scans taken in London yesterday confirmed fresh damage to the joint that was operated on last year, and after consultation with the team medical staff it was agreed that Harris would be unable to take any further active part on the Qantas Tour of the British Isles.

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"Ryan unfortunately experienced right knee pain during the tour match in Canterbury which was consistent with his ongoing knee condition," Bupa Support Team Physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in Chelmsford today.

"Whilst Ryan has had similar knee pain in the past, on this occasion it was more severe and he was unable to play in the Essex tour match.

"He had scans in London this week which revealed new damage to his existing knee injury.

"Unfortunately the damage to the joint means it is unlikely that he would recover in time to play a part in this series."

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The 35-year-old, who has battled numerous injury setbacks throughout his career but had set himself for one final Ashes tilt, then spoke with his family and announced he was walking away from the game, albeit gingerly.

"Given the news I received yesterday, and after talking it over with my family, I know now is the right is the time to step away from cricket," Harris said in Chelmsford today prior to the resumption of Australia's tour game against Essex.

"I'm pretty lucky, I have had a wonderful career and nothing made me prouder than pulling on the Baggy Green.

"I played 27 more Tests than I ever thought I would and I have relished every single moment of them."

"I play every game like it's my last: Harris"

A player beloved by his captains, teammates and fans alike for his relentless competitiveness, uncompromising effort and brutal self-honesty, Harris won plaudits from around the cricket world when the news was announced today.

And even before, when Australia captain Michael Clarke spoke at the end of yesterday's play at Chelmsford about his "love" for his bullocking fast bowler.

Coach Darren Lehmann, who played with Harris in their native northern suburbs of Adelaide and at South Australia and then coached him on his shift to Queensland where his game progressed in leaps and bounds, was effusive in his praise.

"I was lucky enough to captain Ryan as a grade cricketer, a rookie player and as a state cricketer," Lehmann said today.

"He was one of the most talented players I had ever seen.

That moment: Harris delivery breaks Carberry's bat

"Ryan always gave it his all for his country and he epitomises everything the Baggy Green stands for.

"His never say die attitude was his signature  as he left absolutely nothing on the field each time he played and I think that is something for which he should be incredibly proud.

"His beautiful wife Cherie and his new son Carter, his dad Jim, his late mum Gai and his brother Gavin will be so proud of him and what he has achieved and the legacy he leaves behind.

"The team and I are certainly very proud of everything he has achieved on and off the field and we wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do next."

Watch: Harris speaks about his first foray into coaching

Cricket Australia Chairman Wally Edwards also offered a generous assessment of the man who played 27 Tests and made an impact in virtually all of them, perhaps none more so than the last-gasp victory he bowled Australia to against South Africa in Cape Town last year.

"On behalf of the Cricket Australia Board I'd like to congratulate Ryan on an outstanding career," Edwards said.

"Ryan has been a wonderful role model and has proved to state cricketers around the nation that age is no barrier to national selection if you have talent, commitment and a burning desire to succeed.

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"What made Ryan a special player is that he was there for his team when it mattered most. Lionhearted effort after lionhearted effort consistently put Australia in winning positions.

"Who will ever forget the image of a battle weary Ryan Harris defying the odds to bowl Australia to a famous series victory in South Africa last year?

"We wish him and his young family well for the future. He will be missed from the international scene but we look forward to him remaining involved with the game in some way."

Video: Just a week ago Harris declared he was 'here to play all five Tests'

For Harris, ever the team man, it's the camaraderie of the dressing room that he knows he will most miss.

"I couldn't have played with a better bunch of blokes and walking away from the team and our support staff is probably the hardest thing to stomach right now.

"This is a very special team and I know they will do Australia proud in this Ashes Series. I know I will certainly be watching every ball.

"I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family who have supported me through the ups and downs of my career and I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life with them and spending time with my new son Carter.

Harris blasts his highest Test score of 74 at the MCG

"Whatever is next for me, and I don't know what that  is right now,  I know it will still involve cricket as that is what I love and I want to be able to give back to the game that has given me so much."

For that reason, Harris will remain with the Ashes touring party for the immediate future.

Cummins, a part of Australia's triumphant World Cup winning squad, played his one and only Test in South Africa in 2011 before himself succumbing to a series of injuries.

He was due to travel to India for the upcoming tour by an Australia A team but is now due to arrive in Cardiff in coming days with the opening Test due to start there on Wednesday.

Video: Behind the scenes with Ryno the coach

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