By Matthew Fisher
What a start we’ve made to the Vitality Blast!
And I am absolutely loving being a part of it after a very frustrating and tough first half of the season with my abdominal injury and then a recurrence.
I suffered the initial injury whilst bowling during the opening Championship game of the season against Glamorgan at Headingley in early April.
Then, at the start of May, I was playing in a second-team game at Chelmsford and felt it again.
I bowled on the first night, and it was absolutely freezing cold like it was during that Glamorgan game.
I woke up a bit sore, but thought it might be DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). I carried on and it got worse. So we got it scanned, and it showed something wasn’t right.
Being brutally honest, I don’t think I’ve been in a worse place in my career after that.
It was really tough because you start questioning everything you’ve done.
But I’ve just come back and tried to enjoy every minute of it.
It has actually been quite nice to have someone to chat to who has gone through the same thing in Matthew Waite, who has also had a tough few years injury wise.
We both know how we’ve been feeling, and we said that we couldn’t wait to play in the first team together and get a win. That’s what happened on Sunday against Derbyshire.
That was our fourth win in six games to leave us top of the North Group.
Momentum in T20 is such an important thing.
It feels like we are setting points on the board early this year rather than catching up. Usually it’s not in our own hands and there’s a bit of a late panic for points.
Going into games, you don’t have that nervous anxiety about it. You’re going in with your shoulders back and your chest out, believing that we’re good enough to win five, six or seven games on the trot. That is what we want to try and do.
My first game back against Leicestershire at Headingley last week was an interesting one.
It was a tough pitch to bowl on with 240 playing 220.
There were definitely things I wanted to improve on from that game, and I’ve done that in the following two. So I’m happy with how things are going.
That catch Jordan Thompson took at deep cover off my bowling to get rid of Josh Inglis was definitely another one from the Tommo highlight reel!
I’ve played with Tommo for years now, and he’s taken so many worldie catches.
The lads have actually been giving him stick.
‘If you were on the boundary and hadn’t run in, it would have been easy’, that type of thing.
We were reminiscing on the pitch actually. I shouted over to him, ‘You took one of those at Under 12s against Lancashire at East Bierley’. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, I was at mid-off!’ We had a good laugh about it.
It might not be popular with Tommo, but I reckon Jack Leaning’s was a better catch against Lancashire in 2017 when he caught Arron Lilley at deep cover.
Lockie Ferguson has been outstanding for us so far, both with his performances and his influence around the bowling group. The impact he’s had and the standards he sets, it’s driving everyone else on.
I feel we’ve really needed someone like him as a bowling unit because we haven’t won many games for the team as bowlers in the last few years.
The batters are outstanding and have put on decent scores. But it’s our job to help them out. And we haven’t done that enough.
Going back to my injury and recovery, it’s been more of a case of concentrating on white ball cricket than red in the last few weeks.
I’m confident I could play in those Championship games against Northants and Lancashire coming up. But we would need to up my workload.
I guess that is something we will have to decide pretty soon.
I’ve done loads of strength work around the abdominal region and worked on two or three things in my action to help things out.
I just looked at it and thought, ‘You’re always going to have stress in that region of your body as a bowler, but how can I minimise that?’
I was running in with a bit of an angle previously and felt like I was having to do a lot of work to get off the pitch.
So I’m starting my run-up straighter and am also making sure I pull my front arm down more to finish it past my left hip in my delivery. They are definitely helping.