‘I’ll keep running in and giving it my all’: Olly Stone relishing his unfamiliar role as 90mph enforcer as the England fast bowler targets World Cup spot after impressing in ODI series in South Africa
Olly Stone is happy to have inherited Liam Plunkett’s mid-innings enforcer job in his bid to book a World Cup ticket later this year.
Nottinghamshire’s new 90-mile-per-hour man Stone has been deployed in an unfamiliar pitch-pounding change bowler role by England here in South Africa, one he has not previously carried out during his career.
However, the 29-year-old – who like Jofra Archer is back on the international scene following a stress fracture of the back – has shown his versatility by adapting impressively to the challenge of emulating the aggression Plunkett displayed in England’s world champion team of 2019, and conceding just five runs per over during a brace of defeats in Bloemfontein.
Olly Stone (above) is ready for whatever it takes to make England World Cup squad
Ahead of Jos Buttler’s side’s attempts to avert a series whitewash at the Diamond Oval on Wednesday, Stone revealed he hadn’t been prepped for the switch from new-ball and death overs.
‘It’s not something I’ve been used to, I’ve always been used to bowling up the top and at the death but any way in the England team, I’ll snap someone’s hand off,’ Stone said.
‘I’m just loving being out there playing for England. With four men back you can run in and be hostile and you’ve got a bit more protection. If that’s my job going forward, I’ll keep running in and giving it my all.’
Another seamer operating predominantly between overs 20 and 40 – albeit at a much more moderate pace – claimed England’s then-best ODI bowling figures in their only previous international on this ground 23 years ago. All five of Mark Ealham’s Zimbabwean victims, at a cost of 15 runs, were lbw.
The 29-year-old is happy to have inherited Liam Plunkett’s mid-innings enforcer job
In the present, Stone aside, England’s lack of menace through the middle in comparison to that of South Africa has been a theme of this series, with the overall wicket-tally standing at 17-12.
England are reintegrating personnel during this short tour and another rearranged Covid series in Bangladesh next month, and Archer’s presence tops up their pace stocks, with Mark Wood also set to come back in ahead of their 50-over title defence in India this autumn.
‘Having three together can create havoc and if we can have all three of us fit, maybe playing two of us at the same time and the other one rests, it’s great for English cricket going forward,’ smiled Stone.
Archer is set to return after missing Sunday’s high-scoring game as part of his staggered comeback schedule following 22 months out with injuries.
Stoen shows off his football skills during a break in the England nets session on Tuesday
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk