Hampshire bowler back firing on all cylinders

Chris Wood. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Chris Wood. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
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Chris Wood has expressed his relief at making a successful comeback from injury.

The left-arm seamer returned to the Hampshire side in the Natwest T20 Blast victory at Sussex on Friday night and then retained his place in the 47-run crushing of Middlesex two days later.

While some thought he may be protected from that one and eased back into service after knee surgery over the close season, he showed he is well on his way to a full recovery.

After picking up two wickets in the win at Hove, he added another one in the success at Merchant Taylors’ School – claiming the scalp of James Harris in the final over.

And it is his cool head under pressure in tight games during those final overs that has made Wood such a key part of the club’s recent t20 success.

Wood said: ‘It’s a massive relief to be back.

‘It’s been a long five-and-a-half months and I am very excited to be back playing again.

‘I’d had a few games in the seconds so I felt I was ready and I’m delighted to have come in and done okay.’

While the bowler admitted there was some soreness after his first game back in the seconds, he insists it is getting easier with each appearance.

And rather than the knee, he revealed it is the legs that have taken time to get used to the intensity of bowling in t20 cricket again.

He said: ‘It’s got easier every time.

‘After the first game, it was really sore but every day from now on is just getting better and better.

‘The knee hasn’t been a problem, it’s just my legs are trying to get used to bowling again!

‘For my first game at Hove, I was nervous – probably as nervous as I have ever been in a Hampshire shirt.

‘I felt I had to prove myself again but it’s a great feeling to be back.’

Owais Shah, who hit an unbeaten 49 in his second appearance for the club, revealed he felt in much better nick than he did in the victory at Hove.

Shah said: ‘I felt a bit better at the crease in this one but at Sussex, I realised that I had to play second fiddle.

‘The way I was hitting the ball, I just thought I would get the other guy on strike.

‘Things turned around for me this time. We batted very, very well and I thought 198 was a winning score at the halfway point.’

He added: ‘It’s a very nice start for me to come into a team that has won two games.

‘We’ve got a good formula and we’re going from strength to strength.’