Hampshire bowler admits it’s good to be back

Kabir Ali
Kabir Ali
Kyle Abbott celebrates a wicket today against champions Essex. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Kabir Ali revealed his relief and jubilation at returning from a year of injury misery.

The former Worcestershire swing bowler made a bright start to his Hampshire career in 2010, only to be struck down by a knee cartilage injury that required surgery and lengthy rehabilitation.

But 12 months on from his last first-team appearance, Ali returned to Hampshire’s bowling attack at Yorkshire yesterday.

And he was unlucky to grab just the one wicket for 62 after a decent performance.

Perhaps more significantly, the fact he came through 21 overs would suggest he has fully recovered and is determined to pick up where he left off last year.

Ali said: ‘It was good to be back and I really enjoyed myself.

‘It was a massive day for me. I was hoping to play the first game of the season but it kept being dragged back.

‘This time, the timing was perfect. I’d got enough overs under my belt and I was ready for it.

‘I was a bit nervous to begin with because it has been such a long time.

‘I haven’t bowled 21 overs in a day since I came back but the physio has had a good look at it and it feels good.

‘I thought I was trying a bit too hard to get wickets in my first game back.

‘But I settled down quite nicely and I’m just happy to be back playing.

‘I’ve been playing a bit of second-team cricket and things have gone to plan nicely over the past couple of weeks but it was nice to get through the day.’

The 30-year-old looked to have taken his first wicket when Jonny Bairstow looped a mistimed effort straight to James Vince at backward point, only for the umpire to signal a no-ball for over-stepping the crease.

But the Hampshire bowler did not have to wait too long, firing in a beauty to tempt Adil Rashid to edge to Vince in the slip cordon.

Ali explained: ‘I was gutted when I got that wicket from a no-ball but I got through it and it was nice to get one.

‘I thought I was a bit unlucky not to pick up a couple more after that one.

‘The pitch did a little bit in the morning and it was still doing a little bit in the afternoon.

‘But it’s quite slow and spongy.

‘We bowled pretty well throughout the day but unfortunately, they batted well towards the end.’

Hampshire looked well in command at lunch and early in the afternoon session, but Ali was not too downhearted with the home side on 304 for seven at the close of play on day one.

He said: ‘We will just try to do what we did on day one.

‘Hopefully, we can get them under some pressure, bowl good areas and hopefully get them out quickly.

‘We’re relatively happy as a side, even though we had such a good start to the game.

‘But we will need to do well throughout the game because Yorkshire are a good side.’