Marcus Harris’ ‘mind at ease’ leading into the first Ashes test

Marcus Harris is feeling confident ahead of the first Ashes test. (Image: Cricket Australia)

Australian test opener Marcus Harris has done a lot of work to prepare himself as David Warner’s long term partner at the top of the order heading into the 2021-22 Ashes series.

The 29-year-old has spent time in England during Australia’s winter in order to maintain a good amount of high quality red-ball cricket being played.

During his time in England, Harris was able to amass 655 runs from 13 innings for Leicestershire, averaging 54.58 and scoring three centuries.

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In his two Sheffield Shield matches for Victoria the season, Harris was able to hit 137 in one innings, however, was dismissed for nine, one and a duck in the other three.

Currently on the Gold Coast in quarantine with most of the Ashes squad, Harris is comfortable with his place in the side and is pleased with the level of communication he’s had with the test selectors.

“About a week before the first Shield game, I had a really good chat with (Australian selector, George Bailey),” Harris told media on Wednesday morning.

“It was a really good conversation, it was good to have some really clear communication with a selector about what I was doing and what was in their mind.

“It’s good for your confidence as a player to know where you stand and having the backing of people… it puts your mind at ease, your mind can run, obviously coming into a big series like the Ashes.”

Bailey was open about his backing of Harris to partner David Warner at the top of the Australian long-term last week after the squad was announced.

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The Australian squad had an centre wicket session at Metricon Oval on Tuesday in preparation, allowing Harris to spend some time at crease with his opening partner.

“It was a good challenge, [Warner and I] just spoke about what he was thinking about doing and some tactical stuff, Davey is a great player so any advice I can take from him, I well and truly will,” Harris said.

“Just looking forward to getting out there, we got a couple more weeks of training, but we got some good facilities, we’ll have some good match practice and we’ll be ready to go.”

Harris is positive he’ll have more personal success in Australia against England. Other than the ‘home’ factor, the change in pitch conditions will be more in his favour this time around.

“The length [the English players] can bowl in England is different to what they can in Australia, they can bowl shorter and hit the top of the stumps in England which brings in LBW’s and stuff like that, the duke ball that summer was moving around a lot,” he said.

“They’re gonna have to bowl a different length in Australia, and the wickets are more ‘batter-friendly’, so it can sometimes be easier to line them up, especially with the left-handers around the wicket.”

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