Olly Stone will head for the West Indies with the England squad this weekend having underlined his commitment to Warwickshire by signing a new four-year contract.
The paceman, who joined the Bears from Northamptonshire in 2016, powered his way into the senior England set-up last year with brilliant performances for his county. He took 43 championship wickets at 12.21 runs apiece.
"To have that sort of backing was brilliant – I can’t thank them enough."
The 25-year-old made his ODI debut in Sri Lanka before Christmas and would love to follow that with his Test match bow in the Caribbean in the coming weeks.
Since arriving at Edgbaston when still early in recovery from a serious knee injury, Stone career’s has developed, he admits, like a dream come true.
Now he just want to keep building that dream, having re-signed for the Bears until 2022.
“It was great to sign the new deal,” Stone said. “It’s something I was always looking to do and I am just looking forward to an exciting next four years with the Bears. The boys are in good shape, had a great season in the championship last year and hopefully we can go one better this year and win Division One.
“With the injury I had I was very lucky that Warwickshire took me on and I am so thankful for the time they have put into me and the expertise of Gerhard Mostert, Chris Armstrong and Jack Mirfin. The club backed me even though I knew the first year of my contract was going to be pretty much non-existent. To have that sort of backing was brilliant – I can’t thank them enough.
“It has been a crazy two years but the hard work is paying off. To break into the England side is a dream come true and hopefully I can keep fulfilling it.”
Next up comes the West Indies tour on which Stone will be looking to muscle his way into a Test bowling attack led for so long by James Anderson and Stuart Broad who have the little matter of 998 Test wickets between them.
“It’s just an honour to be around those guys,” said Stone. “Even though I didn’t play in the Tests in Sri Lanka I learned so much from them and also from the younger players. You notice little things that you pick up and add to your game and I think the Sri Lanka tour has left me a bit more mature and ready for when hopefully I make my Test debut.
“You try to take it all in and sometimes miss bits and think ‘ah, that’s what I need to do.’ Being among players of that calibre makes you realise that you have to learn quickly and keep improving all the time because there is always another person trying to catch you up and take your spot.”
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