County Championship: James Fuller excited for new season with Middlesex after coming through injury nightmare
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Middlesex paceman James Fuller says his troublesome elbow “hasn’t felt this good for years” as he strives to consign his injury nightmare to history.
The 28-year-old underwent two operations on his right elbow in 2017 and missed virtually the entire season as Middlesex floundered in all formats.
But Fuller is eager for the start of the new campaign after making a successful comeback in New Zealand club cricket over the winter.
“I had surgery in May and it seemed to go well — the feedback was that I should be back for the T20 Blast, but I had this awful reaction where my elbow created a massive lump of bone,” he said.
“Because it was so active, they had to wait another three months to remove it. With any injury, you’re wary and it’s about taking small steps in the right direction.
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“(Middlesex managing director of cricket) Gus Fraser let me go to New Zealand to get a bit of confidence back into my bowling, which was ideal. There was no pain and it hasn’t felt this good for years.”
Fuller’s first wicket since the injury, in the colours of Takapuna CC, raised his spirits further still – his victim was none other than former Gloucestershire team-mate Ian Cockbain.
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However, the Cape Town-born bowler knows he faces a fight to nail down regular cricket in a Middlesex pace attack that could also feature Toby Roland-Jones, Steven Finn, Tim Murtagh and Tom Helm.
“We’ve got seven proper bowlers competing for places in red-ball cricket and I’m under no illusion that I’ll be picked,” Fuller admitted.
“Of course, I’ll be putting my hand up and trying to perform. I want to be the best I can be and being surrounded by cricketers who are going to help me train harder and smarter can only help – bring it on.”
While Fuller was regarded as a white-ball specialist at Gloucestershire, he also made three County Championship appearances in Middlesex’s title-winning campaign two years ago.
And he is eager to add to that tally when the Lord’s side – relegated in his absence – begin their bid for an immediate return to Division One.
“I spent a lot of time watching, suited up in the pavilion – and it put into perspective what an amazing year the previous one had been,” added Fuller.
“The little things that went our way added up and last year they went the other way. It’s tough watching – I want to be contributing instead.”