Hampshire: Topley retains Test target despite white-ball deal

Reece Topley put his first-class career on hold but insisted: I'll be back.

Reece Topley. Picture: Neil Marshall
Reece Topley. Picture: Neil Marshall

The 24-year-old left-armer has penned a white-ball contract with Hampshire for the 2018 campaign.

Topley has been plagued by injury since arriving at the Ageas Bowl at the end of 2015.

But the Ipswich-born bowler is hoping this new deal, proposed by the ECB, will get him back on track.

And when he is firing on all cylinders, he hopes to resurrect his red-ball career and target Test honours with England.

Topley, who has 16 international caps in limited-overs cricket, said: ‘It has been a frustrating time for me as a young bowler.

‘It is hoped this proposal will assist me by preventing further injury as my body matures.

‘Going forward, I do hope to return to red-ball cricket and still harbour ambitions of being the first left-arm fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets for England but that remains a long-term goal.

‘The short-term goal is simply to return to performing for Hampshire and only then perhaps to try to resurrect playing for England, where I am still ambitious to add to my 16 caps.

‘I would like to thank Hampshire for their understanding and continued support and cannot wait for the coming season.’

Hand and back injuries have seen Topley’s career stall since he joined Hampshire.

No surgery was required following the recurrence of a stress fracture in his back last season.

But all parties agreed not to rush his recovery, which has so far paid off with the seamer joining England’s pace programme this winter.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White has been impressed with Topley’s mental strength throughout the tough period.

He said: ‘Reece’s attitude to his rehab and recovery has been outstanding and he deserves for things to go his way this year.

‘Reece’s intentions for red-ball cricket are clear and the longer-form of the game is still something that is important to him in the future.

‘But this move is something that ourselves, Reece and the ECB feel is the best route to take this season.

‘Hopefully, it will mean he is able to achieve his long-term goals at both domestic and international level.’

In limited-overs cricket, Topley has claimed a total of 162 wickets at an average of just 23.23.

The left-armer’s 16 international caps – 10 one-dayers and six T20s – have yielded 21 wickets at an average of 30.11.