Ryan Harris
Injury to Harris is a major blow to Australia on the eve of the AshesGetty Images

Australia have been handed a major blow ahead of their attempts to retain the Ashes with the confirmation that bowler Ryan Harris has retired from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.

The 35-year-old was expected to miss the first Test against England in Cardiff starting on 8 July with a recurrence of a long-standing knee problem, but will now play no part in the series.

New South Wales' Pat Cummins will replace Harris in the squad but the withdrawal represents a significant setback to an Australian team looking to win a series in England for the first time since 2001.

Harris underwent scans on his troublesome right knee, a problem which saw him miss the recent Test series against West Indies in London on 3 July, and has taken the decision to end his fine career prematurely.

"Given the news from yesterday, and after talking it over with my family, I know now is the right is the time to step away from cricket," Harris said.

After making his Test debut aged 30, an injury-ravaged career saw Harris play just 27 times in the longer form of the game for Australia, but 113 wickets at 23.52 made him among the most potent seamers at his best.

The Sydney-born paceman was expected to play a key role in Australia's hopes of regaining the Ashes this summer having taken 24 wickets on the last tour of England in 2013.

Harris took an additional 22 wickets as Australia retained the Ashes in the winter of 2013-14 when he played all five-Tests but that success will prove to be the final duel with the country against whom he enjoyed plenty of success.