Sport Cricket Endangered species: the northern white Ryan-o

Endangered species: the northern white Ryan-o

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There are only six northern white rhinos left in the wild.

Even more concerning – in Australia there is only one northern white Ryan-o, plying his trade in Queensland, and when he is gone there will be no replacing him.

On Monday it was announced Ryan Harris would sit out the rest of the Sheffield Shield season to – again – get his body fit for the rigours of an Ashes series.

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Harris has been such a tireless, selfless servant of the Australian Test team that it is difficult to contemplate a summer without another concerted effort to “get himself right”.

When the pyjama parties are on he’s usually recovering from his latest close encounter with the surgeon, resting his battered Sherman tank of a body from its exertions in white.

In all manner of ways, he’s a throwback.

The 'tradie' suits up: Harris with wife Cherie. Photo: Getty
The ‘tradie’ suits up: Harris with wife Cherie. Photo: Getty

And boy can he bowl. As Martin Blake once opined, he’s “a tradie who happens to possess a post-grad degree in seam-up bowling and analysis of the splice”.

In the past 50 years, Glenn McGrath (21.64) is the only Australian bowler to have a better average than Harris (23.52).

And of all the Australian bowlers to take more than 100 wickets, Harris has the best strike rate – snaring a wicket every 50.7 deliveries.

Bear in mind he didn’t make his Test debut until the age of 29 and the amount of injuries he’s accrued through the years.

His knee should write a tell-all memoir: My Life Without Cartilage.

As honest as the day is long, Harris’ comments on said dodgy knee on Tuesday were wonderfully blunt.

“The knee’s getting worse, it’s getting sorer,” he said.

“But I’ve just got to find a way to get through the next three months and then the Ashes.”

Try and think of another athlete so frank when discussing his injury trouble and you’ll come up short.

Occasionally it can cause a ruckus. Like his comments on social media when refused entry into a Perth Casino following a big Ashes win.

“A tip for all those heading to Perth! Avoid the crown or the casino! S*** hole. Can’t get in if you have had a drink. #s***place #d***heads,” he tweeted in December 2013.

Of course, anyone who’s ever been to Crown in Perth knows the big quick is spot on. Like his bowling, the tweet was perfect line and length, and it’s a shame we live in such ridiculously PC times that he was forced to apologise.

Whenever and however it ends for the Ryan-o, it will be a sad day.

They simply don’t make them like that anymore.

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