Bears batter Rob Yates expects to be fit and firing well in time for the 2023 season after returning home early from Australia for a knee operation. 

Yates underwent surgery last week on his left knee after it became sore during his time with Bayswater Morley CC in Perth. 

The 23-year-old travelled down under on October 16, intending to spend four months playing grade cricket. He settled in well, playing all three formats, before the niggling knee problem persuaded the Bears’ medical team that it would be best for him to return to Birmingham and get the problem nipped in the bud. 

“I really enjoyed it in Perth and played all the matches but the knee didn’t recover so we thought it best for me to come back and get it sorted.” Yates said. “I had the op last Thursday and walked out of the hospital which was encouraging.  

“I should be batting in a couple of weeks time and then be good to fully rejoin the pre-season work in plenty of time to be ready for the new season. It should be a smooth process back. 

“It was a shame that my stint in Perth was cut short but I still had two productive months there. They were a really good bunch of people which makes the trip because you could be in the best place ever but if you’re with not great people it wouldn’t be enjoyable. It was a really good spot with really good people and the cricket was good. 

“They take grade cricket very seriously and there is a real competitive element. The standard is probably somewhere between Birmingham League and Second XI cricket with the odd international and state players thrown on. It was really good for me. They play two-day games, 50-over and T20 and I scored a hundred in the last game and a few thirties and forties before that. Batting-wise I did okay and I also bowled quite a few overs and it was coming out nicely so I picked up a few wickets which was nice.” 

Yates should get bat back in hand in a couple of weeks time and then will get building up to a 2023 season in which he intends to return to his excellent form of two years ago. His four centuries helped power the Bears to the championship title in 2021 and he would love to deliver something similar in ’23 after a difficult season last year. 

“There were challenges last year but every sporting career will bring some of those,” he said. “This year is all about pressing the refresh button and attacking it with full intensity again. Figuring out my best method was part of the learning last year and it came good with an important century in the last game. 

“It would be nice to get back into the Lions set up at some stage but the first step is just to do my best for the Bears – everything else takes care of itself. I just want to help the Bears to more success. It would be lovely to win another championship or get as close as we can…winning one was quite fun!” 

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