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'Treat Olly Stone like a Ferrari': Ashley Giles warns England after fast bowler's call-up

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Ashley Giles, Warwickshire’s director of cricket, has warned the England management to treat Olly Stone like a Ferrari among fast bowlers rather than an everyday run-around, after the injury-prone quick was named in his first England squad for next month’s ODI series in Sri Lanka.

Stone has been arguably the quickest bowler on the county circuit throughout the 2018 season, but had to battle back from a horrific knee injury, suffering while celebrating a wicket in June 2016, as well as a succession of lesser niggles that have disrupted his progress since he first came to prominence for the England Under-19s in 2013.

But, speaking at Hove after Stone’s England call-up had been confirmed, Giles had no doubt that his young player was prepared for the step-up to international level.

“He’s ready,” Giles said. “We’ve really tried to manage his route back into cricket and it’s been quite tough at times with him in and out of the side after he’s picked up little niggles.

“But the bloke bowls at 90mph and he gets the ball back in at the stumps and he gets people bowled a lot. We can only keep him under wraps for so long but after the way we’ve managed it in consultation with England, who have listened to us, he’s now ready to go.”

Stone’s most notable performances to date have come in red-ball cricket – including 8 for 80 in his maiden home Championship appearance at Edgbaston in April. But Giles is convinced that he can translate that prowess to the limited-overs game, where his ability to break partnerships remains paramount.

“His strike rate in red ball is phenomenal. Because of his extreme pace he’s going to get wickets and I think he can play in all forms but I think that, in 50-over cricket, it’s crucial to have someone who can come on and get wickets.

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“He’s certainly capable of that and it’s going to be very different in Sri Lanka than over here but I think Olly should be very excited that in the run-up to a World Cup he has been included in a squad. He thought he might not play cricket at all a year ago and now he has a chance of playing in a World Cup. He gets it coming back in and I think that’s a difficult angle for batters.”

However, with England’s selectors sorely tempted to include Stone for the Test leg of their Sri Lanka tour, especially given how their absence of express pace in last winter’s Ashes campaign proved so costly, Giles warned them not to overwork their new young asset.

“They’ve timed it right but they still need to manage him really carefully,” he said. “You have to manage him with kid gloves. I think if you’re expecting Olly to play every day and be at it, he’ll break down. He’s a Ferrari.

“With many bowlers – your BMWs or your Audis – you just get in and go but if you have someone who bowls at pace and has had his history of injury you have to treat them very carefully.”

As for Stone’s overall aptitude for international cricket, Giles was confident that he would settle into his new environment quickly.

“Who knows until it happens? It’s a really tough environment but he’s pretty relaxed. He’s a good bloke, he’s very calm and he doesn’t seem to over complicate things so I think he’ll be fine.”

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