Stone ready to roll with England’s ‘Ferrari’ dreaming of Test debut

It was Ashley Giles who, in his old role at Warwickshire, told England to treat Olly Stone like a Ferrari among fast bowlers.

Now he can play a bigger part in ensuring his old charge does not end up as another clapped out Fiesta.

Stone stalled somewhat in Sri Lanka before Christmas when, after making an encouraging start to the one-day series, he faded and did not make his Test debut even after England had wrapped up the series with a game to play.

Now, after seeing his dreams of playing in this summer’s World Cup all but dashed when he was left out of next month’s one-day series in the Caribbean, he has arrived here with England’s Test squad still with everything to prove.

Whether his chances of making his Test bow in the three-Test series that begins here on January 23 are improved with the appointment of Giles as England’s team director remain to be seen, but having a friend in the highest of places cannot hurt.

The man with the rare ability of bowling in excess of 90mph joined England’s first training session here on Sunday at the historic Three Ws Oval ahead of Tuesday’s first practice match before welcoming his old Warwickshire boss back into the England fold.

‘I guess he’ll have the chance to do just that now,’ smiled Stone when reminded that Giles had used the Ferrari analogy to urge England to treat him with care. ‘Hopefully that can go the right way in the next year or so!’

Stone insists he learned in Sri Lanka from being in the England environment around the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad but he will need to show it on this tour if he is going to answer the side’s urgent need for extra pace.

The Barbados-born Jofra Archer becomes eligible for England in March and will soon be a direct rival to Stone for the role of enforcer that currently lies vacant.

‘I’m a better bowler now than before I went to Sri Lanka,’ insisted Stone, who has just signed a new deal at Warwickshire. ‘You do learn a lot from the senior bowlers.

‘My mental game is better now and my skills have been topped out. It was about training with a purpose. Even if you only bowl two overs in the nets, make them right up there with how you’d bowl in a match. The training was about being specific and making the most of your time.’

England missed a trick by not giving Stone his debut in the third Test in Colombo to find out more about him in a big-match environment but his chance could come here, with Joe Root’s side unlikely to feature three spinners again.

‘There’s a lot of talk that Caribbean pitches take more spin but hopefully there will be more in them than in Sri Lanka,’ added Stone. ‘I’d love to make my debut here. It is disappointing not to be in the one-day squad but I wouldn’t say my World Cup chances have gone. I’ll just keep working hard because you never know when somebody might get an injury or something.’

Meanwhile Giles, who described himself as a disciplinarian when he was unveiled in his new role last week, immediately had to show why when he was involved in the decision to leave former Worcestershire players Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore out of the Lions tour to India pending a disciplinary inquiry.

The pair are alleged to have featured in a WhatsApp group making comments about women that came to light during the trial of their former team-mate Alex Hepburn on a charge of rape. The jury failed to reach a verdict on a charge denied by Hepburn, who is waiting to discover whether there will be a re-trial.

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