GLOUCESTERSHIRE are optimistic that seam bowlers James Fuller and David Payne will be fit in time for the new county cricket season.
Both returned from their winters abroad early due to injuries, but Fuller is on course to return in time for the opening County Championship game against Hampshire on Sunday, April 13 after being told he does not require surgery on his hip, while David Payne is hoping his ankle will heal in time.
Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell said: “James has seen a specialist since returning to us and the advice was for him to have treatment, rather than undergo an operation.
“That was a relief because the information we were getting from New Zealand was that surgery should be carried out straight away.
“If that had been the case, we would probably have had to write James off for pretty much the whole of the coming season.
“We have had David checked out and he has had an injection in the ankle.
“Now we need to let it settle down and see how quickly he progresses when starting to train again.
“We brought him home (from Australia) a month early as a precautionary exercise, which is always an option when we allow our players to go overseas.
“Because of that and the treatment he is receiving, we are optimistic he will be fit for our opening games.”
Meanwhile, Gloucestershire spinner Miles Hammond helped England finish third at the U19 World Cup in Dubai.
He took the crucial wicket of Australia number three Joe Clarke for two in the match to decide third and fourth place, which England won by one wicket after an unbroken final wicket stand of 34 between Josh Shaw and Matthew Fisher in pursuit of their target of 247.