Olly Hannon-Dalby's recovery from injury is on track and he is ready to challenge hard for a place in Warwickshire's team when they begin their championship title defence on April 7.

Hannon-Dalby was kept out of last season’s thrilling run-in by a ruptured tendon in his left foot. The seamer’s joy at seeing his beloved Bears charge to county cricket’s blue riband prize was accompanied by frustration at not being involved himself.

But OHD’s winter rehab, under the expertise of medical team Gerhard Mostert, Chris Cole and Jack Murfin, has gone well and he aims to be in the selection mix when the Bears open their season.

“All seems to be going well,” he said. “I have bowled flat out and been doing all the running I need to be doing and the physios are happy with me so that’s good.

“It’s slightly different as I tore a big tendon in my foot, so it’s a bit strange that the whole make-up of my foot has changed. I will be honest, it does feel weird. It’s just a question of getting used to my ‘new’ foot and trusting it because it has changed quite a bit. But it has gone well so far and now hopefully I can build up my overs towards the season and get in the team for that first game.

Olly Hannon-Dalby

“It was amazing to see the lads win the championship last year but I was definitely watching on with some envy and thinking ‘gosh, I wish I was out there helping to get those wickets.’ The team that finished the season did brilliantly and it will take some breaking into by those of us who weren’t in it, bowling and batting-wise. But hopefully I can force my way in at some point.”

Hannon-Dalby’s absence for the closing weeks of last season does not diminish the part he played in the Bears’ triumph. He led the bowling attack to top spot in the group in the first half of the season including, crucially as it transpired, a double over Nottinghamshire. The impact of his big-hearted, measured and motivating presence on the squad, on and off the field is immense.

This time last year, Hannon-Dalby asserted that it was time for the Bears to ‘shake off the transition tag.’ “It’s time we started putting in some good performances and winning some trophies for the Bears,” he said.

Look what happened! Now, insists OHD, it is time to build further on the memorable 2021.

“We have done our celebrating,” he said. “To win the county championship was absolutely amazing and there is a great buzz about the place with a lot of lads feeling good but, alongside that, now we need to look forward. We are champions for 2021, we are not champions for 2022, we just on the same start line as every other county.

“We are amazingly proud and it is a brilliant achievement to have under our belts but the focus has to be on how we are going to win it again in 2022. It’s a really exciting challenge that we’re all looking forward to.”

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