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Flintoff backs Harmison to become top wicket-taker

Fast bowler Steve Harmison can become England's leading test wicket-taker according to his England colleague Andrew Flintoff after they teamed up to help England regain the Ashes on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Aug 24, 2009 22:49 IST

Fast bowler Steve Harmison can become England's leading test wicket-taker according to his England colleague Andrew Flintoff after they teamed up to help England regain the Ashes on Sunday.

Harmison claimed three wickets, including two in consecutive balls, in the climax of England's 197-run victory over Australia, which was defeated 2-1 in the series to surrender the Ashes. Flintoff has been England's most hostile and fastest bowler in recent years and the only other bowler in English cricket who has managed to consistently emulate similar speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour is Harmison, whose career has faltered in the last 18 months having been dropped twice because of patchy form. With Flintoff now retired from test cricket because of a knee injury and instead focusing on limited overs matches only, there is now more of an opportunity for the Durham player Harmison to move ahead in his test career.

Ian Botham is the highest English test wicket-taker with 373 victims, while Flintoff and Harmison are joint tenth in the England tally with 226.

"If I was Steve Harmison and could bowl like that I would keep going," Flintoff told reporters Monday at the team's London hotel, after being asked about Harmison's future. "If you ask any batsman in the world 'who do you not want to face?' it would be Steve Harmison."

"He could end up being one of the greats for England. He could go on to be our leading wicket-taker of all time. If he wants to, there is still a lot more to come. Whatever decision he makes will be the right one.

"But as his friend I would like nothing more to be at Lord's next year drinking champagne and watching him take more test wickets for England."

Harmison played in the fourth and fifth tests having been overlooked for the first three matches of the Ashes series.