RhinoArchie Mac |
Author: Harris, Ryan
Publisher: Hardie Grant Books
Rating: 4 stars
You wonder if Ryan Harris would have played a single Test if it was not for modern technology. After reading his biography he appears to spend the majority of his time either on the physio table or on the operation table. Modern recuperative strategies combined with the latest medical treatments keep Harris on the pitch but by the end of the book you wonder for how much longer. He seems to be only just holding on with a knee that has no “cushion” left, a dodgy ankle, a bung hip and a sore shoulder.
Hanging on by the grace of technology and a prayer he may be, but his journey to Test cricket that Harris lets the reader discover, will have you on his side hoping he can add to his 25 Test caps. This is due to the apparent honesty Harris discloses in Rhino. He does not shy away from the controversies in his life or his shortcomings as a cricketer.
Harris is honest in describing his weaknesses such as lacking the will to work hard enough to make it to the top when younger. Others such as former international Wayne Phillips could see the potential in Harris. The author points out that perhaps he had it too easy in life. Parent’s who provided him with any equipment he asked and a sizeable inheritance when he turned 18 years, meant Harris enjoyed an easy passage.
It appears it took some heartache and controversy for Harris to find the discipline to cash in on his innate talent. Firstly he was accused of sexual assault while on a cricket tour as a young man and secondly the passing of his mother from cancer just prior to his Test debut.
Harris admits that there was a temptation to leave out the sexual assault from his autobiography. He decided to include it as he believed it relevant in the story of his life. His mother’s death was also an important factor in the maturing of the young adult Harris and explains some of his intricacies on the cricket field. Such as his tapping the ball on his heart before starting a new bowling spell in a Test match.
Harris deals with these personal issues as he deals with everything in Rhino. That is with honesty and class. He also discloses some of his personal cricket beliefs such as having to play ten Tests before he considered himself as a true Test cricketer. The book is certainly not a heavy read and there are plenty of lighter moments such as Brad Haddin making arrangements for Harris’ refreshment at the drinks break to be beer instead of his sports drink.
The two co-contributors to Rhino – Stephen Gray and Jason Phelan will not be known to most cricket tragics but they have helped fashion a fine read which gives real insights to the modern Australian cricketer and is a pleasure to read.
Penning this review during the Boxing Day Test match of 2014, with Harris announced in the team for match number 26. Let’s hope that modern technology can keep “Rhino” out on the field for a few more Tests yet.