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Ollie targets Vitality Blast

When we interviewed Ollie Sale back in March he was more than ready for the new season.

The 24-year-old, who played his way through the Devon youth system before joining the Somerset Academy, spent the winter in Australia, was injury free and couldn’t wait to get back out on the grass to show what he can do in a Somerset shirt.

Since that interview the world has changed and obviously he has had to put his hopes of establishing himself in the Somerset First XI on hold.

We caught up with him recently to see how he has dealt with the situation over the last few months.

“It’s been a strange time for everyone,” he said when we spoke at the weekend. “I was in lockdown with Ben Green and we kept ourselves entertained by doing a few funny videos for the Club’s social media accounts whilst also trying to keep ourselves fit.”

How does it feel to be back training again after the extended break?

“It’s really nice to be back. Everyone was chomping at the bit to get going again on that first day back and it’s been really nice to see all the lads again. It was a bit strange to start with and we’ve had to get used to all the new protocols that are in place. It’s just great to be able to train and play some cricket again.

“The new processes that we have to go through have already become part of the routine and everyone is just grateful that we are now able to play.”

Injuries have hampered Ollie’s progress over the last few years but now he’s keen to put his name in the frame for this year’s Vitality Blast.

“Before lockdown we’d actually highlighted the Vitality Blast as the team that I was aiming to break in to,” he explained. “That’s what I’m building towards. My body is getting more robust so now hopefully the injuries will start to become less frequent. I picked up a slight rib issue and with the structure of the season being much more compact this year it made sense to condition myself for white-ball cricket. I’m coming in off a full run now and I can’t wait to get back to playing.

“There will always be different roles within a team and perhaps we’ve struggled a little bit with death bowling on occasions, so that’s something that I’ve been trying to focus on. Hopefully that could be my role this year. The coaches talk about the importance of everyone operating at such a high level that we can rotate the seamers without there being a drop-off in standard.

“With regards to red-ball cricket it’s now a case of me having that physical confidence to be able to get through the demands of a four-day match time and time again.”

After all the setbacks, what would it mean to Ollie to be able to get out on the field for Somerset on a regular basis?

“It would be brilliant to be able to do that,” he said. “It’s what we train for and that’s what it’s all about. Hopefully that can happen soon and I can do a good job for the team.”

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