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Jamie Overton opens up about his injury rehab and the incredible 2022 season – where he played a crucial role in Surrey’s triumph alongside earning his first Three Lions cap – in an interview with Richard Spiller.

Amid all the excitement of a new season, Jamie Overton has been forced to watch from afar.

He’s been at The Kia Oval, of course, but participation in the campaign – having played an important role in winning the LV County Championship Division One title last year – has been impossible while he recovers from a stress fracture to the spine.

The 28-year-old fast bowling all-rounder had to return home from the UAE in January, where he had been due to play for Gulf Giants in the inaugural ILT20, after suffering back pain and scans confirmed his fears. Overton knows the signs, given it’s the fourth stress fracture of his career, and has also learned to be philosophical.

“You’ve got to be patient,” he says.

“It’s progressing nicely, I started running again in early April and I’ve been working on the bike but you’re not allowed to do anything too strenuous. The back has to heal itself. My thoughts are that I did it right at the end of last season.”

Overton was a member of the England squad which toured Pakistan late last year – missing out on a place as Ben Stokes and his team completed an unprecedented clean sweep – having made his Test debut last summer, hitting 97 against New Zealand at Headingley. That was among the highlights of a superb season for Surrey, his 34 wickets in 10 matches and 355 runs a major contribution to the title triumph.

“It was a bit of a breakthrough year for me and I really felt part of the team,” said Overton, who joined late in 2020 from Somerset but struggled for form in his first full summer at The Kia Oval. His work with bowling coach Azhar Mahmood paid dividends, bringing pace and hostility to the attack.

Looking back to the campaign, he identified the exciting four-wicket victory over Yorkshire at Scarborough in mid-July as one of the key moments. It was a match which started with the hosts amassing 521 but Surrey’s tenacity kept them in the match and set up a thrilling run chase on the final day. Overton, who had posted 0-104 in the first innings, claimed 6-61 in the second and then hit a rapid 28 to up the tempo, which included an enormous six off his old Somerset colleague Dominic Bess last seen heading in the direction of Peasholm Park.

“We probably should have made it easier for ourselves. We bowled a bit short in the first innings but bounced back from that and then chased the target down. It was the sort of win that can change a season and it was a massive relief,” he recalls.

Overton admits that balls continually going soft last year was a handicap – something which has improved this summer – and explains: “It was a real issue for us but we managed to keep them swinging. It’s pretty abrasive at The Kia Oval and that’s a help, which assisted us in winning six out of seven at home.”

His lay-off had one fringe benefit, Overton’s passion for jump racing helped him through a frustrating period given it marks the peak of the National Hunt season, climaxing in the Cheltenham Festival. As joint owner of several horses, he enjoys working with trainer Harry Derham.

“It’s good to have something away from cricket to focus on. You try to find the right races for them. There’s a conversation about the options but it’s the trainer who decides ultimately. That’s his job.”

Overton, who has lately been playing T20 cricket as a specialist batter for the Surrey Second XI, is all set to be back on the field for the Vitality Blast, where his hard-hitting and industry in the outfield have made him a crowd favourite, and once he’s fully fit there will be a few batters who have to get weaving and ducking again.

Watch below as we talk to Jamie before our first Vitality Blast game this week: