LONDON - Veteran Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Saturday, just four days before the start of the Ashes. The 35-year-old had been left out of Australia's final warm-up match against Essex after suffering a recurrence of the knee trouble that has plagued his career.

Scans revealed that his right knee had suffered more damage. "Given the news I received yesterday (Friday), and after talking it over with my family, I know now is the right is the time to step away from cricket," Harris said in a Cricket Australia (CA) statement. CA added that 22-year-old Pat Cummins has been called up to replace Harris ahead of the first Ashes Test which gets underway in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Harris took 113 wickets in 27 Tests at an impressive average of 23.52 after only making his debut in 2010 at the age of 30. His best figures were 7-117 against England at Chester-le-Street in 2013. He also played 21 one-day internationals, claiming 44 wickets at an average of 18.90.

"I'm pretty lucky, I have had a wonderful career and nothing made me prouder than pulling on the Baggy Green," added Harris. "I played 27 more Tests than I ever thought I would and I have relished every single moment of them." "This is a very special team and I know they will do Australia proud in this Ashes Series. I know I will certainly be watching every ball. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family who have supported me through the ups and downs of my career and I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life with them and spending time with my new son Carter."

Australia coach Darren Lehmann described Harris, who started his career in South Australia before moving to Queensland, as one of the most talented players he has worked with. "Ryan always gave it his all for his country and he epitomises everything the baggy green stands for," Lehmann said. "His never say die attitude was his signature as he left absolutely nothing on the field each time he played and I think that is something for which he should be incredibly proud," the former Australia batsman added.

CA chairman Wally Edwards, congratulating Harris on an "outstanding career," said: "Ryan has been a wonderful role model and has proved to state cricketers around the nation that age is no barrier to national selection if you have talent, commitment and a burning desire to succeed."

Harris missed Australia's recent 2-0 series win in the West Indies to be present for the birth of his son. Such is the depth of pace-bowling talent available already within the Ashes-holders' squad, that legendary Australia quick Jeff Thomson said Thursday that even a fit Harris would not make it into his side for the first Test.

Thomson added he would opt for an attack featuring the fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood, all of whom are now likely to feature in Cardiff following Harris's retirement.