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Olly Stone will return to England next week after a winter in Australia which included an opportunity for him to bowl at England’s batsmen in the nets ahead of the Ashes Test in Perth.

Warwickshire paceman Stone has been playing grade cricket for Bayswater-Morley in the Western Australian city for the last three months.

Fitness-wise, I’m good. The knee is fine and the heal is going well. I split the webbing on my hand fielding at extra cover last week so missed one match but it’s nothing serious.

Olly Stone

He has played white and red-ball cricket during his stay and, encouragingly, reports no problems from the knee which underwent major surgery 18 months ago.

In his first first-team appearances for the Bears last summer, Stone bowled with a high pace which showed the surgery has done nothing to blunt the explosive potential which convinced Warwickshire to sign him from Northamptonshire.

For Joe Root and co it could have been a foretaste of what’s to come when they faced Stone in the England nets in mid-December. The 24-year-old bowls with the sort of velocity which makes selectors’ take note.

But for now, Stone is just happy to be fit again and looking forward to the 2018 season and his first sustained cricket for Warwickshire.

“It’s been really enjoyable out here in Perth,” he said. “I’ve played a bit of cricket in all formats and am bowling okay. I’d have liked to have taken more wickets but it’s been good to get some overs in.

“I bowled at the England lads ahead of the Test match which I really enjoyed as a chance to show what I can do. It was a great experience and they said I can go along again when they come back for the one-day international.

“Fitness-wise, I’m good. The knee is fine and the heal is going well. I split the webbing on my hand fielding at extra cover last week so missed one match but it’s nothing serious. It’s been really good out here and now I can’t wait to get back to Birmingham and crack on towards the new season.

“Last year I had my first taste with the Bears and this time I want a lot more of it and just want to compete in all formats. Hopefully I’ll be fit and firing in April and ready for a big season to help get us out of the championship Division One.”

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