Gareth Andrew is delighted to be back playing and performing with bat and ball as Worcestershire look to establish a position of strength on the third day of the LV = County Championship clash with champions Yorkshire at New Road.
Andrew scored 59 in Worcestershire's first innings of 311 and has so far taken four wickets during the Tykes reply of 298-9 It is his first Championship appearance for 11 months after recovering from a fracture in his lumbar pedicle.
Andrew said: "It was nice to contribute with bat and ball again. "We have had a strong pre-season, we’ve been flat out but it’s all been worthwhile going into this first game.
"Regarding my fitness, as games go on, and back to back games, we will see really. We will just have to manage that area where I had the fracture in and we will just have to see how it reacts over the next games.
"I know after the next four-dayer (away to Sussex) we've got a week off so that is the perfect time to get some recovery and strength training in.
"I am just taking each day as it comes. After being out for a long period of time, you just love each day you’re still on the park.
"I just enjoy taking the new ball and it’s a job I’ve done for the last couple of years and it suits me bowling quite straight and at the stumps."
Andrew knows the importance of Worcestershire building on the good work of the opening two days.
He said: "We bowled really well in parts. We were a little bit off where we should have been in other parts so it was one of those days that, at the end of it, we were pretty happy.
"We had a few stages where we didn’t have any luck and that could have made a big difference.
"For us to compete against such a good side as Yorkshire, we are very happy but we want to keep pushing this game forward.
"We need to set the tone with the ball early and take that last wicket and then we need to build a platform with the bat from where we can start scoring.
"They are a good side even with the players missing in the Caribbean with England.
" It’s still a strong unit and a strong bowling attack. You are not going to get too many stronger attacks than that in the country. For us to hold our heads up and compete in this way has been positive.
"The wicket has got the odd ball in it. It is pretty slow and low and we tend to enjoy bowling on it. We have our set plans of how to bowl at Worcester.
"It’s our fortress and we have to know how to use the ball well on it. We have two spinners so, hopefully, they will play a big part in the Yorkshire second innings.
"It is going to be crucial first thing (Tuesday) to make sure they don't get away from us."
Andrew was full of praise for fellow paceman Jack Shantry who also picked up four wickets.
He said: "Shants was brilliant. They had a period where they opened up some boundary areas.
"We just didn't get that bit of luck and then Shants came on and pinned everything back and then took wickets.
"He bowled fantastically well again."