The independent voice of cricket


How Hussain deprived Harmison of his England Test debut at the coin toss

by Josef Rindl 2 minute read

England fast bowler Stephen Harmison, speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, says he was on the brink of making his Test debut in 2000, only for then-captain Nasser Hussain to change the team just before the toss.

Harmison made his Test debut at the age of 23 in August 2002 when England hosted India at Trent Bridge. But the Durham bowler says he could have made his debut two year earlier when Zimbabwe toured England in 2000.

“I should have played at 21 because Nasser Hussain decided he was going to pick Ed Giddins at the toss. Geoff Miller told me the story, he told me how Hussain changed his mind.”

Miller, an all-rounder in his playing days, had joined England’s selection panel a few months before. Giddins had played just two Tests prior to the second Test at Trent Bridge and would only play in four in total. He finished with match figures of 1-46 in a rain-affected encounter.

“Apparently Nasser changed his mind regarding the team on the way to the toss. Because clouds came over, he said he was going to pick Giddins instead of me. If I played then maybe there could have been an extra two years where I might have been available, I might have got a few more wickets.”

Harmison would go on to play 63 times for England, taking 226 wickets including a career best 7-12 against the West Indies at Sabina Park. He also played a pivotal role in England’s 2005 Ashes victory taking 21 wickets across the series.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99