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PAUL NEWMAN: Resurgence of Middlesex bowler Roland-Jones shows that class is permanent

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PAUL NEWMAN: The resurgence of Middlesex sailor Toby Roland-Jones at 34 after a terrible string of injuries shows that class is permanent… he is one of the good guys who should have played for England a lot more

  • Toby Roland-Jones is experiencing a renaissance after coming back from injury
  • The bowler took 10 wickets in Middlesex’s win over Durham last week
  • David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd will be a notable absentee from Vitality Blast this year

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It won’t lead to a romantic recall by England, but Toby Roland-Jones’ renaissance for Middlesex was one of the feel-good stories of this season’s championship premiere.

Few English bowlers have been so unlucky with injuries, especially as they came for Roland-Jones just after he showed he belonged at the very highest level.

There was the hat-trick at Lord’s against Yorkshire to take the 2016 title in the most dramatic way, leading to England recognition and four tests the following summer.

Middlesex bowler Toby Roland-Jones is experiencing a renaissance after battling back from injury

Middlesex bowler Toby Roland-Jones is experiencing a renaissance after battling back from injury

He made a spectacular impression by taking South Africa’s top four wickets in his first 33 balls in Test cricket, turning 17 that summer at 7.64pm and seemingly booking his seat on the plane to Australia the following winter.

But then it all started to go wrong for Roland-Jones when he succumbed to that injury that is the current bane of English bowlers, a stress fracture of the back.

Not only were the Ashes gone, but the injury recurred after one comeback game in 2018 and he missed the truncated 2020 season with a shoulder problem.

Then there was knee surgery that knocked out Roland-Jones for four months last year.

The English bowler took South Africa's top four wickets in his first 33 balls in Test cricket

The English bowler took South Africa's top four wickets in his first 33 balls in Test cricket

The English bowler took South Africa’s top four wickets in his first 33 balls in Test cricket

But when he did play in 2021, Roland-Jones proved he had lost none of his class and consistency when he took 25 wickets in six games at 18 apiece. eight-for against Glamorgan.

Most notably, Roland-Jones took 10 wickets in Middlesex’s win over Durham last week, including Ben Stokes for a second ball duck, and is finally reaping the rewards, at age 34, as he never gave up after fate put him down. dealt a particularly bad hand.

“There was a time when it was hard to get through long periods,” Roland-Jones said this week of his struggle to get back to his best. “But that feeling is now turning the other way and I’m finding rhythm and wanting to keep going as long as possible.

“I feel like I’ve turned a corner a bit and that has helped with my durability and consistency. Wickets always cheer a bowler and right now I’m happy.”

He deserves to be. Roland-Jones is one of the good guys who should have played a lot more test cricket, but he can still enjoy a golden autumn in a career that, had it not been for an accident with so many spells on the sidelines, would have given him so much more.

Bumble will be sorely missed

The success story that English cricket tries to hide as best it can is back. The Vitality Blast will once again draw large crowds despite the rumors of slow ticket sales this year and, in general, a better standard of foreign players than the Hundred. Not that you’ll hear much about it from the ECB’s marketing team.

Joe Root will also play in the first three games.

But there will be one notable absentee from the competition this year in the form of our very own Bumble.

Witty Comments From David 'Bumble' Lloyd Will Be A Notable Absence From This Year's Vitality Blast

Witty Comments From David 'Bumble' Lloyd Will Be A Notable Absence From This Year's Vitality Blast

Witty Comments From David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd Will Be A Notable Absence From Vitality Blast This Year

David Lloyd has been the TV face of T20 cricket for 20 years, embracing it from the start and bringing us so many memorable moments.

Bumble’s departure from Sky in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq affair, over comments in a private Twitter conversation that I believe remain awkward but anything but racist, remains a huge injustice.

Many have to be held accountable over the Rafiq scandal and thanks to him, English cricket is finally tackling its racing problems.

But Bumble is the wrong man to pay the price for the game’s ills and he will be sorely missed on Sky this summer.