Oliver Newby is hoping a change in his action can help him secure more regular LV= County Championship cricket for Lancashire during the forthcoming season.
Although he tweaked a hamstring during the latter stages of the county’s recent pre-season tour of Dubai, the fast bowler returned a couple of encouraging performances during earlier limited overs outings against Sussex and the MCC Universities.
Newby, who was doing laps out of the outfield at Emirates Old Trafford this afternoon, is confident his right hamstring will recover in time to be in contention for the Division Two opener against Worcestershire, starting next Wednesday.
The 28-year-old from Blackburn has benefitted from a coaching course coach Peter Moores has undertaken about the biomechanics of bowling actions to make changes which he feels will bring him more consistency and power through his own action.
And, despite admitting that he is looking forward to the beginning of the 40-over campaign next month, he says his main aim is to build on the 48 first-class appearances he has made since debuting in 2003.
In fact, he only played one four-day match last season against Surrey at Liverpool when there was nothing but pride on offer, claiming 1-59 from 13 overs.
Speaking at today’s pre-season media day in the new Player and Media Centre at Emirates Old Trafford, he revealed: “Mooresy has been doing a course on rotation and action types. There are vertical and horizontal action types, and I had a vertical action. We've changed that to more of a horizontal action, which means more rotation. It feels a lot more comfortable now.
“I went to the Dennis Lillee Academy in India earlier in my career, and they got me bowling in a similar way to Brett Lee because he was so successful at the time. We’ve moved away from that now, and tried to get more rotation.
“It just means that I'm not quite falling away as much. With a vertical action, I used to fall away to try and get power. With a horizontal action, I can get that a lot easier. I'm bowling well, and hopefully I'll get an opportunity. If I get picked in that first game, hopefully I can run with it.
“I feel really confident with my one-day stuff. From kicking off last year, I think I've made big strides and am really looking forward to the one-day games. But my end goal is to get a permanent place in the Championship team.”
Despite the departure of big mate Sajid Mahmood to Essex and a knee injury ruling Kabir Ali out of the start of the season, competition for fast bowling places against Worcester is still fierce between the likes of Newby, Kyle Hogg, Wayne White and Gavin Griffiths to play alongside captain Glen Chapple.
And it is exactly the same for places in the batting order too now that overseas star Simon Katich and Kolpak recruit Ashwell Prince are in the mix.
“We’ve spoken about how difficult that batting order is going to be to pick,” added Chapple. “There’s going to be a couple of good players who miss out in the first game. But the season will evolve, and you don’t have to be in that first game to have a good season.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh