“Davey’s earned the right to pull the pin whenever he wants to pull the pin and he’s done well this series,” Harris said.
“England’s not an easy place to open the batting and him and Uz have got us off to some good starts. So if I have to wait until then, so be it. But if something comes up earlier, I’m ready to go. Davey’s obviously a bit of a lightning rod for opinion.
“Even if you’re not getting the big runs that you want to get, if you can still contribute to the team in some way, shape or form, I think you’re doing a job. But that’s coming from an opening batter so I’m probably biased towards that.”
But Harris has accrued three years’ worth of County Championship experience since then and has built an impressive first-class record in England, averaging 45.83 from 52 innings with nine centuries, including two this season for Gloucestershire.
Given his experience in English conditions, Harris cautioned against asking a middle-order batter to open the batting in a Test match in England.
“I think it depends on the conditions and where you are,” he said. “Like you saw in the subcontinent, it is probably the best time so to have someone destructive like Heady, he can open the batting there. But I think probably in England and in Australia, the way the wickets have been the last couple of years, and New Zealand, those sorts of wickets, it’s more of a specialist position. And you want your destructive players like Greeny or Mitch or Travis to be coming in against a bit more of an older ball.
“Maybe those first two wickets were alright. Definitely, Edgbaston would have been okay, but I think like we saw at Lord’s, whenever there were some overheads, and at Headingley, it was hard work. My experiences from county cricket [are] if you cop the wrong time of the day to open the batting, especially if you’re a destructive batter, it’s probably not ideal.”
Harris is strong in his belief that he is a much-improved player compared to both his last England tour in 2019 and his last Test opportunity in January 2022.
“I have been exposed to a lot more conditions,” Harris said. “Since then I have been to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and played three county seasons here. Being an overseas pro to county teams is a different experience to playing Shield cricket. I just feel more well-rounded. That series taught me a lot in 2019. At the time it didn’t seem good, but I have probably benefited from it in the long haul.
“I feel like I am ready to go whenever that chance comes. Whether that is this tour or not, so be it. I am in a good place mentally and with life. Whenever it comes up, I’ll be ready to go.”
“I got given the option,” Harris said. “I thought it would be good to have a couple of days off and get away from cricket altogether. I have been here since April 1 so it has been a pretty long tour. The training we can do now with how big the squad is as a collective, during the games is as good, if not better, than playing a game of cricket. I don’t feel like I haven’t had a lot of cricket.
“Might have been a different story if I just came on the Ashes and hadn’t played any county cricket. But personally, there hasn’t been any issue for me.”
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo