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Ollie keen to get going

Ollie Sale is hoping to be fully fit and ready to hit the ground running at the start of the 2018 season.

The 22-year-old, who hails from Tavistock, graduated from the Academy and at the end of last season, when he had completed his studies at Newcastle University, he signed a two year extension to his contract with the Club.

Unfortunately for Ollie he was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the back during last season and has spent the time since following a rehab programme.

The good news for the young paceman is that his recovery has gone well and he has just started bowling again.

“This is the first year that I have been here training full time and I’m just loving being involved with everything,” he said.” Having been away prior to this year, this is all a new experience for me and it’s really good to come in everyday and get the contact time.”

Talking about the mood in the Somerset camp Ollie said: “There is certainly a freshness about the place. There’s a real energy here and the boys are all working very hard. Everyone is excited to get going.”

The new management team includes coaches Ollie has worked with previously, as he explained: “Jason (Kerr) was head of the Academy when I first joined and Sarge (Andy Hurry) then took over while I was still involved. Joel Tratt (Head of Strength & Conditioning) was also an intern when I was on the Academy, so there are a lot of familiar faces about the place and everyone is loving it.”

How is the tall fast bowler finding life as a full time professional cricketer?

“It’s certainly a new challenge for me,” he said. “In previous years I’ve had to manage my time between my degree and my cricket and everything else, but now it’s really nice to be able to focus all of my energy into cricket and give it a really good shot. I want to become the best player that I can be and hopefully get into the first team.”

Has it been hard work?

“I’ve always worked hard, so it’s nothing that I didn’t expect from a physical aspect,” he said. “I think everyone finds the first couple of weeks tough, getting your body used to things, but once you get over that it becomes much easier.

“Since Christmas we’ve been combining our skills work with the strength and conditioning which has worked really well. We’ve also been trying to do stuff away from the ground as well, using the Nuffield Gym and Pool and working at Taunton Vale. It’s about keeping our minds fresh so that when we get to the season and are here everyday, it doesn’t feel like we have been here for ages.”

Regarding how his rehab is progressing Ollie said: “I’ve been on no bowling for the last five months since the stress fracture, but now I’ve had a scan which was good news and I’m having another in a month to give me the all clear. Then I can crack on from there.

“I’m bowling at a low level, like the other bowlers and gradually building things up. I’m expecting to be ready to go for the start of the season.”

Looking ahead he said: “I just want to push myself as hard as I can this season and now that I’m involved full time I definitely feel I’m very much part of the squad. The reality is that we have got a really strong squad at Somerset and I know that I’ll be competing with the likes of Craig Overton who is a test match bowler now. I’m raring to go, I want to be pushing them and I want to get into the first team. I know that it’s going to be tough so I have got to take the opportunity when it comes.

“My job will be to perform when I am required, so I just have to make sure that I’m ready to do that when it happens.”

What does Ollie think that he brings to the Somerset side as a fast bowler?

“I definitely think that I’ve got the ability to bowl quickly and I’m working on a number of aspects that will allow me to do that for an extended period of time. I also swing the ball, which naturally I’ve done late, so I hope that will stand me in good stead in four-day cricket.

“Obviously I’m still developing all the time, and that is what has been so good for me being here through the winter. When you’re away working on things you don’t get all of the conversations you do being here and that has been a great help to me this year.

“I’m working on a couple of things that I’m really excited about and hopefully these will translate out in the middle. I’m working hard on my batting and since suffering my injury I haven’t been bowling, so I’ve been able to focus very much on the other side of my game. Hopefully this summer I’ll be able to contribute some runs out in the middle too.”

Which format of the game does Ollie think he is best suited to?

“I think that I could play a role on each of the teams and I definitely want to improve my white ball skills and I think my batting is suited to that format. I’m still young and I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself. Once I’ve got a strong base, I can start thinking about whether there is a direction I want to be taking that is best for the team. At the moment I don’t think I should be thinking about which format is best for me.”

Ollie added: “The dream for me would be to be selected in the first team for the opening game of the season and Tom Abell throw me the ball to open the bowling- but we will have to see what happens!”

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