Stone’s preparation means things can only get better

Northamptonshire fast bowler Olly Stone is keen to make 2015 his year.

By Jim Lyon
Friday, 6th March 2015, 11:43 am
Olly Stone
Olly Stone

The youngster has had a frustrating, stop-start opening to his professional career but hopes he is now in a position to push on.

It was June 2012 that he made his first-class debut for the club since when he has managed only seven more appearances - five of them in the dreadful campaign last year - as injuries have held him back.

However - fresh from three weeks with the Potential England Performance Programme at the High Performance Institute of Sport in Potchefstroom in South Africa - the 21-year-old, Norfolk lad is optimistic of better times to come.

“It’s been a frustrating couple of years for me,” the former England Under-19s skipper said.

“I’ve had my opportunities but then it hasn’t gone to plan.

“In the Lancashire game last year I broke my finger and then towards the back end of the season I got a stress fracture in my shin.

“I feel in a good place at the moment and in good shape.

“Hopefully this year, with the opportunities everyone is going to get, I can stay out there and put in some good performances.”

Physical strength was one of the things he focused on during his time in South Africa and he believes he will be stronger than ever for the summer ahead.

“There were six fast bowlers from around the country at the camp,” he explained.

“There were no major issues to be dealt with, we were just looking at little things we want to tweak.

“There were two bowling coaches - Neil Killeen and Jason Kerr - along with Leicestershire physio Rob Leather and Michael Main who is the strength and conditioning guy at Hampshire.

“So we had four good-quality coaches overseeing everything we did.

“It meant at times there were two coaches for one person in the sessions.

“You can’t really ask for much more.

“The main thing we looked at was the robustness of my body - choosing the right times to stretch and making the most of the opportunities when they come along.

“To get those little tips and nuggets that I can buy into is something that will help.

“It was great to get some time like that which will hopefully give me a bit of a headstart on all the others.”

The things he has learned and the development he has gained could come in very useful.

Northamptonshire go into the season with one of the smallest squads in recent memory and a very limited seam bowling attack in terms of numbers.

It means Stone will definitely be called upon to do his share of the hard work as they try to bounce back from the horror show that was 2014.

“It’s going to be a tough ask - but it is every year,” Stone admitted.

“With only having a few bowlers this year to rotate along the way it is going to be a bit harder.

“But everyone is really up for the challenge and looking forward to getting the season going.

“We spent a lot of the time out in the dirt last year.

“Both mentally and physically it was very draining.

“We’ve got two tough but winnable games right at the start of the season.

“Hopefully we can put together some good performances there and it can set us up for the rest of the year.

“That can only put us in a good place.

“I know from being around the dressing-room last year that if we can pick up a few wins early in the season it will give us a massive mental boost and hopefully get us on a bit of a roll.”