CRICKET: Frontline Australian quick Ryan Harris believes his tough journey through the first-class ranks will benefit him greatly as a coaching mentor for Brisbane Heat's bowlers in the Big Bash League this summer.
Harris is listed as a supplementary Heat player and could take the field in BBL 04 when Australian commitments will not get in his way.
But his off-field role as a bowling mentor below head coach Stuart Law could be his most valuable contribution at the Heat this summer, as it looks to atone for missing out on the finals last season.
Harris, 34, only cemented his spot in South Australia's Sheffield Shield side in 2007/08, taking 37 wickets.
He made his one-day debut for Australia in January 2009.
"Getting to first class cricket is bloody hard work - it's a bloody hard journey," Harris said.
"I had guys like Jason Gillespie, Brett Swain and Mark Harrity when I started out, who I looked up to and they helped me through.
"That's the sort of role I'll be looking at with these guys (at the Heat).
"We've got such a great group of young bowlers who are so talented and I just want to be there to help push them."
Harris has known nothing but hard work on the way to becoming the No.2 ranked Test bowler in the world.
After biding his time on the fringes of selection for a decade at South Australia, before his watershed 2007/08 season, he modelled his fitness regime on the fanatical approach of former Aussie quick Andy Bichel.
But Harris won't be cracking the whip around the young Heat bowlers any time soon.
"I'm not the coach, Stuey's the coach. I'm just here to help with game awareness," he said.
"If they've got any queries they can come to me. We've got a bowling coach too.
"I don't think I'm that sort of coach anyway.
"If you go in with your way and try to enforce it, you can lose the players quickly."
Harris said he was aiming to be back from a recurring knee injury for the first Test of the Australian summer, against India in Brisbane on December 4.
He added he wanted to play a part in the one-day World Cup starting next February, and for the 2015 Ashes series in England, starting July 8.
Harris showed some sympathy for banned Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, for an illegal action, with Ajmal to miss next month's Test series against Australia in the UAE.
"It's a tough one because he's a very good bowler, he's been around for a long time, but the ICC has seen a fault and that's for them and him to work out," Harris said.
"You've got laws there and you've got to be within the laws."