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Warwickshire’s Stone & Norwell close to returning

Olly Stone has taken 10 wickets at an average of 19.40 in his three Tests for England

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes said fast bowlers Olly Stone and Liam Norwell are on course to return to action within a couple of weeks.

England Lions seamer Norwell, 30, is being pencilled in for a red-ball return against Lancashire on 12 June.

Norwell has been out since being concussed against Essex in April.

Stone, whose last game was England’s second Test defeat by New Zealand on his home ground Edgbaston in June 2021, is nearing the end of his recovery from a stress fracture in his back that kept him out for most of last summer.

“Olly’s probably got another seven to 10 days before he’s back playing,” Rhodes told BBC CWR.

“So he might be available for a couple of Championship games in the middle [of the T20 Blast campaign].”

Warwickshire's Liam Norwell
Liam Norwell was part of the England Lions squad that toured Australia in the winter

Injury-hit Norwell, who missed most of 2019 with a torn hamstring, has not played since being hit by a bouncer in the Bears’ win against Essex in round two of the Championship last month.

But Rhodes is confident Norwell, who spearheaded Warwickshire’s Championship-winning charge last season with 49 wickets – form that got him a place on the Lions’ winter tour of Australia – will be back very soon.

“We’re hoping Liam will be back for the Lancashire game,” said Rhodes. “We feel like we’re getting people back and can be a stronger team from there.”

Rhodes hit his first century of the summer as he and Sam Hain batted all day to secure a draw against Yorkshire in the final Championship match before the competition takes a short break for the start of the T20 Blast, which begins on Thursday against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Edgbaston.

Bears ‘just behind where we want to be’

The draw was the Bears’ fourth in their opening six matches and leaves the defending champions sixth in Division One, 32 points behind early leaders Surrey.

Although all-rounder Rhodes said it has been a struggle to bowl sides out consistently so far, he was not worried about any lack of penetration from his depleted attack.

“It’s not really a concern but it’s a repeating pattern,” he said.

“We don’t want to do that and we feel like we’ve had some good plans in place. We’ve been unlucky at times but we’ve also bowled badly.

“Obviously the pitches are better, which a new challenge.

“We feel we’re probably just behind where we wanted to be in terms of points, but we’re still in the top half and within striking distance of teams around us.

“We’ve got games coming up that we feel we can win.”

Warwickshire resume their Championship campaign with the visit of Lancashire on 12 June before a trip to Northamptonshire two weeks later with three more rounds in July.

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes
Will Rhodes joined Warwickshire from Yorkshire before the 2018 season and was made Bears captain in 2020

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