England turn to Olly Stone to bolster pace ranks for Sri Lanka ODI tour


The pace of Olly Stone is set to be unleashed on Sri Lanka’s batsmen after England handed Warwickshire’s fast but fragile right-armer a call-up for the one-day squad’s first overseas assignment of their winter.
Stone has a claim to being the quickest bowler on the county circuit at present and with Liam Plunkett, a 50-over regular, permitted to miss the first fortnight of the upcoming five-match series due to a clash with his wedding, a chance to run the rule over a previously uncapped option has now presented itself.
When fit, Stone has generally been running through Division Two line-ups with the red ball this season, claiming 34 wickets at 11 apiece from six matches. The 24 year old, who also trained with England during last winter’s Ashes tour, therefore is the eye-catching pick in a 16-man squad that will play five matches, starting in Dambulla on 10 October.Both Sam and Tom Curran are also included – the former following a breakthrough summer in Test cricket and as straight replacement for his fellow left-armer, David Willey, following a back injury – as is the fit-again Mark Wood. There is also a recall for Liam Dawson as an additional spin option for what are expected to be friendly conditions.Eoin Morgan’s side have 17 one-day internationals remaining before South Africa at the Oval on 30 May marks the start of next summer’s World Cup at home and having risen to No 1 in the rankings during a startling renaissance over the past three years, the captain and his head coach, Trevor Bayliss, are keen to keep a relatively settled squad.The clash with Plunkett’s impending nuptials – caused by a switch around in the one-day and Test legs of the tour after a date was booked in – offers Stone a chance to make a late play for next summer’s showpiece event and though Sri Lankan pitches may not be a natural fit, England are keen to inject more pace into their attack.The former Northamptonshire seamer’s List A record to date is admittedly quite modest with 23 wickets at 38 from only 25 matches. But England have looked beyond the numbers and instead focused on the attributes, which despite a troubling back catalogue of injuries still make him capable of hitting speeds in the mid-90s from a 6ft 3in frame.This is testament to Stone’s perseverance, having battled back from an eye-watering knee injury suffered in 2016 when innocuously jumping to celebrate the wicket of Moeen Ali during a T20 Blast fixture. It snapped his anterior cruciate ligament, before he tried to bowl a follow-up delivery and tore the cartilage as well.