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Harmison retires from cricket
Former England bowler Steve Harmison has announced his retirement from cricket with immediate effect.
In an interview with the north-east England's Sunday Sun, the 34-year-old, who took 226 Test wickets for his country, said he had "known for a while" that he would be calling it a day at the end of the 2013 season.
Harmison failed to make a single first-class appearance for Durham during their title-winning year, and added that he had left his announcement until now so as to not take the shine of his county's achievement.
Harmison's retirement follows on from that of Matthew Hoggard last month, meaning all four of England's feared pace attack from the 2005 Ashes have now called time on their careers in one way or another.
Simon Jones is to remain as a Twenty20 specialist, while Andrew Flintoff retired in 2010.
It was while in an England shirt and specifically while bowling with the likes of Flintoff and Hoggard that Harmison made his name.
His brilliant seven for 12 in the West Indies in 2004 marked him out as one of the most feared fast bowlers on the planet, and he carried his form through to England's memorable win over Australia a year later.
"Today I am announcing my retirement from professional cricket," Harmison said.
"I was hoping to go out on a high in my benefit year but my body has not allowed me to, and I have not made a single first-team appearance.
"With my contract up at the end of the season, I have known for a while I would be calling it a day.
"But I did not want to take the shine off such a magnificent campaign for Durham by announcing it before the end.
"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.
"So now, with the club's end-of-season awards night out of the way, I can make my decision public."
Harmison made his Durham debut in 1996 and has been a one-county man short of a loan spell with Yorkshire when his body had started to fail him.
"It's been such a privilege for a Northumberland lad come good to play for a fantastic county like Durham," he added.
"There have been good and bad times but the way I look at life is you always have to learn from your mistakes. If you do, sometimes they're not a bad thing."
While Harmison is proud of his work with Durham, the wider cricketing community will associate him with one of England's golden periods, during which he reached the top of the Test bowling rankings.
Under the captaincy of Michael Vaughan he flourished as a sometimes raw but often deadly quick bowler.
He stands by his achievements with Durham, though, particularly in winning the Championship alongside brother Ben.
"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," he added.
"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.
"A handful of people have won Championships with Durham, but we are the only brothers."