Aussie quick’s shock retirement hands England huge Ashes boost

Australia will be forced to go into the 2015 Ashes without fast bowler Ryan Harris who announced his unexpected retirement from cricket just days before the first Test in Cardiff.

Harris had been struggling with a knee injury all summer and after ruling himself out of the final warm-up game in Essex the 35-year-old seamer has decided to call it quits.

Pat Cummins is due to be called up as a replacement in Michael Clarke’s squad, but there is no denying this is a crushing blow for the tourists.

Having whitewashed England on Australian soil last time the Ashes was contested, it’s no surprise that the Baggy Greens are the 2/5 favourites to win the series outright at Ladbrokes.

However, there is no understating the loss of the man they call Rhino, who has been a thorn in English sides over three separate Ashes series.

Harris clocked up 22 wickets during the decimation of Alastair Cook’s men Down Under last time, with best match figures of 8/61 in Sydney in January 2014.

However, he did even more damage on English soil, albeit in a losing cause, in the previous Ashes Series only six months prior by swinging his way to 24 total scalps.

Former Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan took to twitter when he heard the news.

As a genuine exponent of swing rather than raw pace, Harris proved the perfect foil to the likes of Johnson who bang it in at over 90 mph.

England’s price of 3/1 to take back the urn just got that bit more juicy, although the cricketing world will salute a fine player, who came late to the Test arena.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.