When I got the news that I’d be out for the rest of 2021 because I had suffered another stress fracture in my elbow, it was pretty tough to take. But I’ve always been of the view that everything happens for a reason, and the injury doesn’t change the way I look at my career.
I’ve said many times before that Test cricket is the most important format to me and nothing has changed in that respect. It’s frustrating to be sitting out an important series against India, as well as not being to make the trip to Australia this winter — not to mention the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE.
If I do end up with another stress fracture, I may have a different view on things as regards to my future. But for the moment, I’m still only 26 and I think my best years as a Test cricketer are ahead of me.
It was pretty tough to take the news of another stress fracture in my elbow, a long-term injury
The reason I had an operation in May was because I wanted to sort out the problem once and for all. I don’t want this thing hanging over me. I want to be out there again, taking wickets and helping win games for England.
Having said that, I’m trying to be cautious about when I make my comeback, but I guess there’s a chance I’ll be ready in time for England’s three-Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean in March.
But I can’t make any promises, and I’ll be seeing a specialist soon about the elbow.
Tim Bresnan had a similar problem, and we spoke about the issue which made me a bit nervous, I must admit. But I’m sure it will be fine in the long run, and I’m grateful that the injury doesn’t stop me going about my daily business. It’s not as if I’m limping around, or anything like that.
It is frustrating to be missing out on so much Test cricket, as well as the T20 World Cup
However, I am cautiously optimistic that I can return for the West Indies tour in March 2022
I’ve not watched a huge amount of cricket since I was ruled out in August, but I did see the eliminator and the final of the Hundred. I thought the whole competition was a welcome change, and it has clearly piqued a lot of interest.
And even if you don’t know anything about cricket, the new format may help get you into the sport.
I’ve seen bits and pieces of the England Test series, but I haven’t sat through whole matches. I’m a bit of a mixture when I watch cricket from the sidelines — sometimes I’m really involved, other times I’m a bit more detached.
But I’ll definitely tune in to the third Test against India at Headingley, and I have every confidence the boys can square the series against a strong Indian side.
I thought the Hundred was a welcome change for cricket, although Test cricket is the pinnacle
The thing for me now is to get used to not being involved on the field. It was difficult at first, and I had to remind myself that it was no fault of my own.
I’ve played a lot of cricket over the last two years for England, Sussex and Rajasthan Royals at the IPL, and I could have been out for a year with that injury, so sitting out for six months is not much in the grand scheme of things.
I tell myself that I’m not the first or last cricketer to be injured, and I understand that I have to do my time.
I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be fit and firing again early next year.