Matt Milnes is close to fulfilling his winter aim of being available for Yorkshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship opener with Leicestershire at Headingley next week.
The county’s new fast bowling recruit has spent the last six months rehabilitating from the stress fracture of his back which he suffered late in his Kent career in September.
He admits there have been difficult days on the road to recovery, but today was a good one for the Nottingham native, who returned 1-19 from six overs as Yorkshire faced Durham in a 45-over red ball friendly at Headingley.
Milnes, 28, spoke enthusiastically about his move to the Broad Acres after his first Yorkshire outing on home soil.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “The guys have been great, and the coaching staff have been brilliant.
“I was very low in September when I got the news. There were some tricky conversations. To have to ring Ottis and tell him the news the day after it happened was pretty horrible.
“Thankfully, the timing wasn’t so bad.
“There have been some days where it’s been sticky and sore, but generally it’s been pretty positive how I’ve come back from it. It’s just nice to be back playing.
“It was a massive target of mine to be in the mix for the first game, and I feel like I’m pretty close to full fitness.
“It was really exciting coming into the ground today knowing you’re going to get out there. It was a bit wet and tricky at times to keep your footing, but it was great to be out there.
“I feel good physically at the minute. My back feels good. So happy days.
“As I say, the main objective all winter has been to try and be fit and in the hat for the first game. That’s kept me going and kept my focus. The medical team have been brilliant. I feel in a pretty good spot.”
Milnes said his move to his third county following Notts and Kent was one he couldn’t turn down.
“It’s one of the biggest clubs in the country, if not the biggest,” he went on.
“I’m playing at an unbelievable ground. I’ve played here a handful of times in my career and have always enjoyed bowling here. The coaching staff was another big reason, so was being a part of the bowling attack we’ve got.
“I felt I needed a change, and I want to push my game to the next level.
“I think we’ve got a really exciting attack.
“There’s some guys who have done the business for years and other young guys who are chomping at the bit. Everything I’ve seen of them I’ve been really impressed with.
“I sort of knew what Coady, Fish, Tommo were about, but the likes of Leechy and Cliffy I hadn’t seen a huge amount of. But everything I’ve seen, I’ve been really impressed with.
“They’re bowling really well and are in the mix for that first game. Also, Rev is bowling beautifully. He did that today.
“It’s a really exciting time as a group of bowlers. You wouldn’t think twice about putting anybody in the side.”