WARWICKSHIRE fast bowler Liam Norwell is feeling strong and ready to fire when the 2020 season finally starts – and has given a big vote of thanks to Bears bowling coach Graeme Welch.
Norwell has shared the collective frustrations of lockdown which, in his case, followed the blow of losing the second half of last season to injury.
That injury came as a big disappointment to both player and team after Norwell made a brilliant start to his Bears career with bat and ball following his arrival from Gloucestershire.
Now, after much work with Welch at Edgbaston, he is back to fitness, back in rhythm and cannot wait for the season to start.
“I am very lucky to be working with one of the best bowling coaches around,” Norwell said. “‘Pop’ is just brilliant. He has seen everything and understands everything about bowling.
“I have been out for over a year and, while you don’t forget what to do, bowling is all about rhythm and it’s not always easy to drop straight into that.
“However, I started off just bowling into an empty net for a couple of sessions and then moved on to bowling to batters and gradually stepped it up and now the rhythm is back and I am feeling great.
“It’s been lovely to be back at Edgbaston among the lads and get ball in hand. I just can’t wait to get going when the season starts.”
Everybody in cricket is looking forward to the season but, as social-distancing continues, the matches, just like training, will be very different – and that has taken some adjustment, admits Norwell.
“It has taken a bit of getting used to,” he said. “As a fast bowler, your instinct is to lick your fingers and try to shine the ball. It’s an automatic thing so you have to keep thinking to make sure you keep to the guidelines.
“It will also be strange not celebrating wickets the way we usually do, but this is the way it has to be for now. This is the new normal and it will be worth it just to be back out there playing cricket.
“It has been so well organised at Edgbaston, it feels a very safe environment and we are all being really diligent. The ECB and the counties have been done brilliantly to get us to a place where we can have some sort of a cricket season.
“I think when that first ball is bowled it will be quite emotional for everyone. It will be very strange with no spectators at first, although hopefully there will be loads watching the live stream.
“I just want to carry on from last season. I was pleased with the way it went but was lucky in that I happened to come into the team just as the guys were finding their feet in the season.
“On my debut, Olly Hannon-Dalby took a five-for and Sam Hain got runs and then Jeetan Patel took wickets and Will Rhodes scored runs and I was very lucky to come into that environment.”
Words by Brian Halford.