England’s Olly Stone, who made his ODI debut in the washed-out first match of the series against Sri Lanka says that he is living a dream playing for England, after being ravaged by an injury two years back.
Stone is one of the few English quicks who can regularly touch 90mph, his captain Eoin Morgan calling him a potential game-changer in next year’s world cup which will be hosted by England. And in his six over spell in the second ODI at Dambulla, Stone showed why. He dismissed Niroshan Dickwella with a ferocious bouncer to take his maiden ODI wicket and finished with figures of 6-0-23-1.
“It’s been crazy. When I got injured, if someone had said that two years later you’d be playing for England, I would have snapped their hand off,” 25-year-old Stone said. “It is a dream come true. It’s been a whirlwind few months and I’m just loving it.
“It is always a nice feeling to see them (batsmen) ducking and diving. I am trying to figure out when to go all guns blazing and when to hold back a little bit. I guess there is a little bit more to come. I just run in and see what happens. If more comes then great.”
Stone tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 2016, which caused him to appear in only one first class and seven T20 matches in 2017. Although in better shape this year, his county Warwickshire has been careful in managing his workload post injury, limiting him to eight Championship matches where he averaged 12 with the ball.
Bowling on pitches in the sub-continent is new for Stone. “It’s tough given the conditions, trying to figure out how your body will handle it, and not wanting to go all guns blazing at the start and blow out,” he said. “I’ve tried this year to go a little bit up and down the gears to try and look after my body. I have had a few injuries. Just trying to figure out when to go all guns blazing and when to hold back a little bit. That has been something I’ve worked on.”
Stone is currently keeping Mark Wood out of the team, who was England’s first-choice opening bowler for much of last year. And his arrival also increases the competition in the team’s pace department, with Chris Woakes being the other quick bowler who played in England’s 31-run victory in Dambulla and ending up with three wickets.
It is also yet to be seen whether Liam Plunkett goes straight back into the team after when he joins the England squad for the final two games of the ODI series after getting married. Throw in Sam and Tom Curran, David Willey and Ben Stokes into the mix and England seem to have a problem of plenty when it comes to the country’s premier fast bowling resources.
With an eye on the 2019 world cup, Stone said he just wanted to keep putting in good performances to give him the best shot at being part of the squad for the showpiece event.
“I’d love to be part of the World Cup squad. I’ve come into this tour not really knowing what to expect and the boys have been great, and there is an opportunity to try to put your foot in the door and hopefully from these few games I can put in a good performance and show what I can do," he said.