Reece Topley to focus on white-ball cricket in 2018

Reece Topley in action for Hampshire. Picture: HAMPSHIRE CC

Reece Topley in action for Hampshire. Picture: HAMPSHIRE CC - Credit: Archant

Suffolk cricket star Reece Topley is taking a break from red-ball cricket in an attempt to get his injury-hit career back on track.

Hand and back injuries prevented the 6ft 7in bowler featuring prominently for Hampshire in his debut campaign in 2016, while a recurrence of a stress fracture to his back cut short his 2017 campaign last July.

As a result, the former Royal Hospital School pupil, who turned 24 last week, has decided to focus solely on limited-overs cricket for the 2018 season following a proposal put forward by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“It has been a frustrating time for me as a young bowler,” said the ex-Essex left-armer. “It is hoped that this proposal will assist me by preventing further injury as my body matures.

“Going forward, I do hope to return to red-ball cricket and still harbour ambitions of being the first left-arm fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets for England – but that remains a long-term goal.

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“The short-term goal is simply to return to performing for Hampshire and only then perhaps to try and resurrect playing for England where I am still ambitious to add to my 16 caps.

“I would like to thank Hampshire for their understanding and continued support and cannot wait for the coming season.”

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Hampshire’s director of Cricket Giles White said: “Reece’s attitude to his rehab and recovery has been outstanding and he deserves for things to go his way this year.

“Red-ball cricket is still something that is important to Reece. This move is something that ourselves, Reece and the ECB feel is the best route to take this season for him to be able to achieve his long-term goals.”

After consulting with a specialist, a decision was made to approach Topley’s recovery conservatively with no surgery. Following a six-week lay-off and subsequent rehab he returned to action recently in England’s Pace Programme.

Topley possesses impressive white ball statistics at domestic level so far in his career, having claimed a total of 162 wickets at an average of just 23.23 in 108 List A and T20 contests.

His record for England over 16 limited-overs fixtures is 21 wickets at an average of 30.11.

England host the ICC Cricket World Cup next summer.

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