Sport Director Ashley Giles believes that Olly Stone's England call has come at the right time, but he urges them to treat him carefully.
Sport Director Ashley Giles believes that Olly Stone is ready for the next step after he was named in the England squad for next month’s ODI series in Sri Lanka.
Stone, 24, joins fellow Bears bowler Chris Woakes in the 16-man travelling party that will play a five-match series starting on October 10 in Dambulla.
I think Olly should be very excited that in the run-up to a World Cup he has been included in a squad.Ashley Giles
The seamer, who trained with England during last winter’s Ashes tour and played for England Under-19s, has drew plenty of praise from outside Edgbaston with his raw 90mph pace and impressive return from injury.
Stone joined the Bears after suffering a knee injury in 2016 and after a stop-start 2017, he now has a strong claim to being the quickest bowler on the county circuit at present.
As flattering as that sounds, Giles is keen to urge caution regarding his work load.
“He’s ready,” Giles said. “We’ve really tried to manage his route back into cricket and it’s been quite tough at times with him in and out of the side after he’s picked up little niggles.
“But the bloke bowls at 90mph and he gets the ball back in at the stumps and he gets people bowled a lot.
“We can only keep him under wraps for so long but after the way we’ve managed it in consultation with England, who have listened to us, he’s now ready to go.
“They’ve timed it right but they still need to manage him really carefully,” Giles added when asked if it’s the right time.
“You have to manage him with kid gloves. I think if you’re expecting Olly to play every day and be at it, he’ll break down.
“He’s a Ferrari. With many bowlers – your BMWs or your Audis – you just get in and go but if you have someone who bowls at pace and has had his history of injury you have to treat them very carefully.”
During this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup, Stone has taken 12 wickets at an average of 28.16, but it’s the red ball where his form has caught the eye.
Ahead of the current Specsavers County Championship match against Sussex in Hove, Stone had taken 55 wickets across all formats for the Bears this season, including 34 in the four-day game after six matches.
That works out at a staggering average of 11.61.
“His strike rate in red ball is phenomenal,” concluded Giles who was speaking at Hove.
“Because of his extreme pace he’s going to get wickets and I think he can play in all forms. I think that in 50-over cricket it’s crucial to have someone who can come on and get wickets. He gets it coming back in and I think that’s a difficult angle for batters.
“He certainly is capable of that and it’s going to be very different in Sri Lanka than over here but I think Olly should be very excited that in the run-up to a World Cup he has been included in a squad.
“It’s a really tough environment but he’s pretty relaxed. He’s a good bloke, he’s very calm and he doesn’t seem to over complicate things so I think he’ll be fine.
“He thought he might not play cricket at all a year ago and now he has a chance of playing in a World Cup.”