A game in country Queensland will act as another important milestone for Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris in his return from the shoulder surgery that has kept him sidelined this international season.
Harris, 33, will captain a Queensland invitational side on Saturday in a Twenty20 match against an Australian country XI in Bundaberg, which will conclude the Australian Country Championships.
The match will be just the second back for Harris since he underwent shoulder surgery in the winter and will likely determine whether Queensland selectors pick him for state matches once the Big Bash League has finished.
Harris played for his Brisbane club side at the weekend and felt comfortable in his return, and will now aim to reclaim his spot in the Bulls side later this month, which will in turn determine whether he makes the Ashes squad. He has been bowling at full pace in the nets with his BBL side, the Brisbane Heat.
“I've been pretty happy how things have been going along while training with the Heat, so this game against the country boys will give me another chance to bowl competitively," he said on Tuesday.
“Hopefully I can use this game and the club matches for Toombul to get my workload up ahead of the Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield games for Queensland after the BBL finishes."
Harris has not played for Australia since the end of the tour of the Caribbean in May, and during his lay-off this summer has said he did it tough watching other fast bowlers move past him in the pecking order, even though several other quicks have been sidelined through injury.
But the veteran is held in high regard by Australian selectors, given his record of 47 wickets in 12 Tests at a strike-rate of a scalp every 49 deliveries, and his abilities with the ball and a likingness for hard work.
If he does return for Queensland promptly, Harris will have plenty of opportunities to impress in domestic matches before the national selectors pick the squad to tour England. The Bulls will play another four shield matches and three one-day games and are a chance to reach the finals in both competitions.