Harrison on road to recovery
The days of cricketers putting their feet up over the winter are long gone, but Durham seamer Jamie Harrison has been working harder than most to ensure he is able to build on a hugely promising start to his career.
Harrison, a boyhood Durham fan, was handed first-class and List A debuts in 2012, and made the most of his chance with 10 wickets in three LV= County Championship appearances.
However, the 22-year-old left-armer was then struck down by a stress fracture in his right leg, having also been troubled by injury in the previous campaign.
In a bid to hit the ground running this summer, Harrison has spent countless hours working on his fitness and is confident of being ready for April’s opening fixtures.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: “I’m having one-to-one coaching with a sprint and biomechanics coach up at Gateshead Athletics Stadium and last week was actually the first time I had ran since July.
“It went really well; there was no pain. Running for 20 minutes is a massive step forward for me and, touch wood, it’s all going well.”
Elaborating on the injury problems that have hampered his early days in professional cricket, Harrison added: “The previous year I had shin splints. It was 100% muscular and it was in the lower third of both legs, around my ankle joint. That was because of poor boots that I didn’t change, and also going from the indoor school to soft ground outside.
“This year I was outside in Perth playing club cricket and when I came back it was good for a while, but because of the amount of overs I had bowled in second-team cricket and in the nets, it just kind of overtook my legs and I ended up getting a really huge hot spot on my right leg, just underneath my knee.
“The bone had actually cracked a little bit. It’s been a long process (recovering); I’ve been swimming every day since October because that’s been the only way I can keep my cardio going.”
Harrison is aware his training patterns may need to be modified in future if he is to avoid any further setbacks.
“We’ve come to realise now that I might have to do certain things differently,” he explained.
“If the lads are doing fitness work running on hard ground, I might have to go on the rower or the bike, or do a pool session. Unfortunately for me, I might have to be away from the team, but that’s what is going to get me on the pitch all year round.”
Should his return to full fitness run smoothly, the St Helens-born youngster - who moved to Cumbria at the age of five - faces the challenge of breaking into Durham’s first team once again.
“I’ve got confidence in my own ability,” he said.
“If it doesn’t happen for some reason, but I know I’ve worked hard and given everything, then I’ll be ok. But I hope that the opportunity comes and I can take it again like I did last year.
“Durham is predominantly known for having a really good calibre of fast bowlers. We’ve got youngsters coming through now, which is good competition for you, because they are biting at your heels. I feel blessed that I’m at such a good club.”