Somerset’s Craig Overton says his early return through injury from the England Lions’ tour to South Africa in the winter has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Overton, the hero of Somerset’s dramatic win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last week, returned home for an operation in mid-January, following the reoccurrence of an old ankle injury. He has recently returned to competitive cricket after a period of recovery.
But the 21-year-old all-rounder says had he not gone on the trip the injury would not have been noticed and he would have ended up missing half of the English domestic season instead, denting any immediate hopes of being re-selected as part of an England squad.
Speaking exclusively to The Incider after smashing a vital 55 off just 31 balls for Somerset on the first day of last week’s game at Trent Bridge, Overton said: “Obviously it was disappointing, but looking at it in a good way, we wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t gone away.
“So the fact that I went away and bowled, meant that I could come back early and get it sorted ready for the season, rather than miss half the summer. Then I probably wouldn’t have a chance next winter [with England], so it worked in a good way, so we’re quite happy with that.
“My ankle’s all fine now. Obviously there’s still a bit of scar tissue there, but I’m feeling confident with it. I just need to get back bowling, get a bit of rhythm and I’ll be pretty happy.”
Overton played a big part in Somerset’s first Championship victory of the season last week at Trent Bridge with both bat and ball.
Skipper Marcus Trescothick said runs from Overton and the rest of the lower order had been the difference between the two sides. His 55 on a green surface under overcast skies helped Somerset post 312 all out, which proved decisive in the conditions.
But Overton also he took six vital wickets at key times, bowling with pace and accuracy in both innings, including taking a spectacular caught and bowled chance.
Overton said there had not been any plan to go on the offensive with the bat.
“It’s the way we play. We’re quite an aggressive side when we bat so, we’re positive and we look to score quickly.
“We want to play our game; we don’t want to go too far from that. If we go into our shells, we struggle, so if we make sure we play our game we normally do alight.”
Overton said he was looking forward to bowling in tandem again with twin brother Jamie, who has suffered a heel injury himself after impressing with some hostile spells of fast bowling in the Championship game against Middlesex last month.
“We haven’t quite done it [bowled in tandem] yet this season,” said Craig. “But he’s going nicely so hopefully we’ll both be fit for a game soon and both get going.”
The two brothers certainly “got going” this week in the game against Yorkshire at Taunton, where they set the game alight on the third day with an incredible tenth-wicket stand of 76 runs in only 5.5 overs, as well as taking vital wickets with some superb spells of fast bowling.
It was a mouth-watering glimpse of what a team containing two fit and firing Overton brothers could do for Somerset’s fortunes.