Norwich-born bowler Olly Stone closing on Warwickshire debut after year out with knee injury
- Credit: Tim Ferley
An incredibly frustrating year is almost at an end for Norfolk cricket star Olly Stone.
The pace bowler suffered the misfortune of a freak injury when celebrating a wicket on June 3 last year, when playing for Northamptonshire in the Natwest T20 Blast.
'I've had jokes about whether I'm still going to celebrate wickets,' said the Brundall-born bowler, whose knee buckled after he jumped in the air after having Monty Panesar caught behind.
'I might go back to an old-fashioned handshake, then I won't get injured!'
Despite that cruel blow for the former Thorpe St Andrew School pupil – halting his hopes of progressing from the England Lions squad to the full senior side – he had eight clubs interested in his services as his contract at Northants wound down, having taken exactly 100 wickets in all three forms of the game across five years.
The 23-year-old, who was born in Norwich and raised in Brundall, opted to head to Warwickshire but the former England Under-19s captain is yet to make his debut.
Stone bowled four overs in a friendly against Shropshire last Friday though and can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
'It was nice to finally get back out there on the park,' the former Vauxhall Mallards player said. 'It was only four overs, but it was three weeks ahead of schedule.
'It's been just over a year. At times it's gone quickly. At times it's gone slowly. It almost felt like I had to learn how to walk again. You realise just how much you take for granted.
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'But I'm happy where I am now. I'm not the sort of person to get down about it. It happened, but it was just one of those freak injuries. I'd celebrated wickets like that loads of times before. It was innocuous.'
The right-arm medium-fast bowler is now hoping to be fit for the start of this season's T20 Blast, which starts on July 7.
'I've got to build up my fitness, get back ready and try to take as many wickets as I can, in whatever format they want me to play,' he added, speaking to BBC Sport.
'It's not been an ideal start to the season but all the lads are sticking together. We're doing the right things and just hope that the luck will change. If I can play a part in that, it would be great for me and hopefully for the team too.'
Watch a video of Olly in action above, taking 5-44 against Kent in the 2015 County Championship season.