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Mixed feelings for Craig Overton

Craig Overton relished his return to the England Lions on the day his bad luck with injuries spread to his twin brother Jamie.

Craig had been ruled out of the five-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan A before Christmas with an elbow injury, and was also forced home from the Lions tour of South Africa in early 2015 with calf and ankle problems.

So he had some mixed feelings as his first List A appearance for the Lions since August 2014 in the first match of the 50-over series against Pakistan A coincided with the confirmation that Jamie had been ruled out for the whole series with soft tissue damage in his right foot – meaning he will now return to Somerset.

But Craig marked his own overdue change of luck by playing a big part in an impressive collective bowling and fielding effort by the Lions, taking 2-33 in eight overs as Pakistan A were dismissed for 192 – a total the Lions passed with five wickets and almost nine overs to spare.

“It’s a nice feeling,” said Overton, who had his best season yet for Somerset in 2015 with 47 first-class wickets at an average of 21.

“Last winter didn’t go the way I wanted it to with my ankle and my calf. But I got it sorted and had a good season, and got back on to the Lions again. That was the annoying bit about the elbow because I could do everything but throw. 

“It was never a doubt about bowling, because I knew I could bowl before Christmas. The main issue was throwing. I did some work with some of the coaches back at Somerset before Christmas, we’ve changed my technique slightly and it seems to have worked.

“The wicket was a bit slow today, so we just bashed a hard length and it seemed to work – let them make the mistakes and get our wickets that way. We built pressure and kept the squeeze on.”

Overton was in a difficult position before Christmas, as he combined personal disappointment and frustration with pleasure in the performances of his brother in the T20 series against Pakistan A.

Jamie had also made an impressive start to the 50-over leg of the tour, smashing an important half-century in the second warm-up match against UAE before feeling a pain around his little toe when bowling his fourth over.

Both he and the England medical staff were initially hopeful that the damage was not serious, but he pulled up again in the nets yesterday and scans revealed soft tissue damage.

“It’s all happened all of a sudden really,” added Craig. “Jamie’s is a bit of a freak accident I think. It’s sad to see him go but I’m sure he’ll be raring to go for the season.

“He’s had a good winter. He did really well before Christmas and he’s been looking good out here now. He’ll have a bit of a break now but he’ll be back bowling at Somerset soon.”

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