Double-Ashes winning Durham and England fast bowler Steve Harmison has announced his retirement from professional cricket.
Harmison made his England debut in 2002, and along with Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard and James Anderson, formed a potent attack which helped England beat the West Indies in the Caribbean in 2004, South Africa in South Africa soon after and then win the 2005 Ashes.
Harmison, able to generate extreme pace and bounce from his 6 foot 4 inch frame, was a key factor in that golden period for England under Michael Vaughan, taking seven for 12 in one outstanding spell in Jamaica and 17 wickets in the 2005 Ashes series.
His next Ashes experience was delivering the first ball of the 2006/7 series to Flintoff at second slip. He, and England, never recovered, and they lost the series 5-0, but unlike Hoggard, whose international career ended when the pair were dropped in New Zealand the following winter, Harmison earned another shot at the big time.
He returned that summer against South Africa and finished his international career during the 2009 Ashes, playing in the final two matches at Headingley and The Oval, where he took three wickets in quick succession on the final day to help England wrap up a 2-1 series win.
He is one of only three Englishman (Anderson and Flintoff are the others) to have taken a One-Day International hat-trick, which he achieved against India at Trent Bridge in 2004 with the wickets of Mohammad Kaif, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra.
He retired from ODI cricket in 2006 only to go back on his decision in 2008, playing the last of his ODIs in the West Indies for 2009.
Aside from spells with the Dolphins during the 2007/8 winter in South Africa, and Yorkshire in 2012, he played all of domestic career for Durham, who awarded him a benefit for the 2013 season, although he played no part in their LV= County Championship success due to injury.
He was, however, part of their side as they won the 2008 and 2009 title and took the clinching wicket in both seasons.
He retires having played 63 Tests, 211 first-class matches, 58 ODIs, 143 one-day games, 2 Twenty20 Internationals and 28 Twenty20 matches.
In all cricket, he picked up 957 wickets and was awarded the MBE in 2006.
"I did not want to take the shine off such a magnificent season for Durham by announcing my retirement before it had finished," Harmison said.
"I may not have been able to contribute in the way I wished, but I have at least got what I most wanted out of the 2013 season - the County Championship trophy back in the cabinet at Chester-le-Street.
"Whenever I got the chance to play for Durham I did. I loved coming back to play alongside my mates. No one’s more frustrated than me at how little I’ve played for Durham in the last few years, but injuries are part of being a fast bowler.
"I had plenty of highlights in an England career that spanned nine years during which time I became the world’s top-ranked Test bowler. But my thoughts always come back to Durham.
"The picture which gives me the most pleasure was of me walking off the field at Canterbury on the day we won Durham’s first Championship. One hand, with its wrist broken, is clutching a stump, the other is around my brother Ben.
"It's been such a privilege for a Northumberland lad come good to play for a fantastic county like Durham. Looking back on my career, there are many people that have played an important role so to them, and the fans, thank you.
"As my playing career has come to an end my focus is very much on the future. I’ll be taking my coaching qualifications in the winter so I can use my experiences to help support and nurture future talent. It is important to me to stay involved with Durham at some level to try and secure support that can help us improve our set up even further."
© Cricket World 2013