It has been a long slog with my plantar fascia injury, but I’m getting there now.

I’ve been out for 14 weeks from what I initially thought was going to be a month-long thing. But I’m coming to the back end of it now and will be available to play from now on. Hopefully I can have a good end to the season.

It’s definitely been a frustrating one, that’s for sure. 

There’s been a few factors why it’s been so annoying. 

One has been not being able to spend time with the boys. The Yorkshire squad is almost the only friendship circle I have over here for now. 

The other part is having a taste of it early season and not being able to build on it – stuck on the wrong side of playing. But it will make it all the more sweet when I can play again.

For a large part of the recovery, I tried to get as far away from cricket as possible. 

I’ve had so many injuries in my career, I’ve had enough time to think, reflect and look at ways to improve my game. But it can be very frustrating when you see something you like in another bowler’s action, for example, that you can’t go out and try it.

Mickey Edwards

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Mickey Edwards.

You’re ruminating on things you can’t do much about.

My girlfriend, Katey, has moved over now and is doing her exams to get her registration to be a nurse in the UK. Having her over has been a big help. 

Myself and Matt Milnes, who is in the final stages of his recovery from his back stress fracture, have also been playing quite a lot of golf over the last month or so, which has been interesting.

We’ve been playing at Leeds Golf Centre, and it’s been a lot of fun, taking the mind off it.

Milnesy is a relatively new golfer. 

We played last week around York, and he hit the clubhouse on the 18th in front of all the spectators. That was hilarious. When we were at Leeds, he also had a complete air swing with a driver. I’m not sure how given it’s the biggest club in the bag. 

The action of bowling is so unique that there are a lot of other things you can do aside from actually bowling. 

When I had my last back stress fracture when I was at home, I carried on playing golf to stop going mad. 

I played golf almost every day and actually recovered the quickest that I’ve ever recovered from a stress fracture. Hopefully that helped Milnesy along as well.

Matt Milnes

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Matt Milnes is congratulated on taking an early-season wicket.

Once the season is done here at the end of September, I’ll be going back to Sydney for a couple of months to play grade cricket for Manly, my home club.

My way of going about things now is to try and play as much as possible.

I’ve done quite a few pre-seasons in my time, and I find they’re best spent playing as much as you can – at full intensity in a match off your full run-up.

I’ll also see some family, so it will be good fun.

Unfortunately, though, Katey can’t come because she’s going to New Zealand for a wedding in March, so she’s using her leave on that. But I’ll do November and December and then be back here in early January. 

I hear it’s supposed to be nice and warm in the North of England at that time of year? 

The general feeling is that we’ve been playing some decent cricket in and around the rain we had through the last Championship block. 

Without the external factors going on, we feel we would have had a really good chance of promotion heading into September given how tight the table is.

But all we can do is win a few games and build the confidence going into next year.

And what about the Ashes, I hear you say. 

Well, it was a bit disappointing.

It definitely deserved an outright winner, and it does feel a bit hollow just retaining the Ashes as an Australian. On the other side, I’m sure it feels like a win for England. But what a series!

Ben Stokes

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes after this summer’s Headingley Test.

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