England had a lot of selfish players before 2005 Ashes: Harmison

Steve Harmison
Harmison played 63 Tests for England. File photo: IANS

London: Former fast bowler Steve Harmison believes that quite a few players in the England side were selfish in the late 90s and early 2000s, and added that the team spirit changed during the 2005 Ashes at home, which the hosts won 2-1.

"The difference between that and 2003, 2001 and 1999, 1997, was in 2005 we were a team. We'd grown up as a team, we played as a team and we behaved off the field like a team. In 1997, 2001, 2003-04, you had a lot of selfish characters playing for England."

"Some great cricketers, don't get me wrong but when you look at - and I've got no problem saying this - the likes of Nasser (Hussain), Athers (Michael Atherton), Thorpey (Graham Thorpe), Corkey (Dominic Cork), Darren Gough, Andy Caddock, there was a group of individuals playing together as a team where you look at 2005, we were a team," Harmison was quoted as saying by SEN Radio on Thursday.

Harmison was responding to a claim from former Australia pacer Jason Gillespie who pointed out that England in the 2005 Ashes played with an urgency and intensity not previously seen. "I noticed a big difference in the England side in the '05 Ashes we'd never felt that as an Australian side before."

"England would normally go out in dribs or drabs going onto the field (but this time) it was really noticeable that as soon as the umpires walked out there, Michael Vaughn was straight out there, everyone was straight out there, quick chat and then they would literally run to their fielding positions, the bowler would run and hand his cap to the umpire and before our batters were halfway onto the ground, the whole England team was set up ready to play, ready to rock," said Gillespie.

Vaughn was appointed as England captain in 2003 and got back the Ashes to England in 2005, which was the side's first Test series win over Australia since 1986/87. Harmison, who played 63 Tests for England, further said, "Looking at (the Australian team), your boys were a team. You might have had some differences, but we never picked up once (on any of them)."

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