Josh Tongue has relished Worcestershire’s earlier return to action at Malvern College this winter as he seeks to put last summer’s injury frustration behind him.

The paceman picked up 47 Championship wickets and played all 14 games in 2017 and followed that up with 40 more in 11 games the following season.

A nerve tissue injury followed by a side strain restricted Tongue to four Championship appearances last summer although he still picked up 17 wickets at 18.94 runs apiece and topped the County’s averages.

But the Redditch born player has been bowling with no ill effects since the players reported back in early November.

Tongue said: “It’s been good, it’s been tough. A lot of fitness work and we’ve come back to Malvern College early as well.

“It’s been good to be back bowling because I was injured at the end of the season and I wanted to get cracking as soon as possible really.

“From that Northants game, that side strain came at a bad time in my season and the winter could have been looking different in terms of the (England) Lions.

“It was frustrating. I played four Championship games which obviously is not what I wanted. It was disappointing not to play more matches.

“Injuries can happen to young bowlers and it’s how you come back from them and if you come back stronger – which is what I am determined to do.”

Tongue believes the earlier return to bowling will be of benefit given that Championship cricket will dominate the fixture list in April and May.

He said: “That first block of the County season is six Championship matches so coming back early to start bowling is definitely good for me and I think for the others as well.

“We finish this week, then have two weeks off for the festive season and then will come straight back in on January 6 and hit the ground running.”

Tongue has had a knack of picking up wickets.

He said: “If we hit a dry patch in the game, Leachy will chuck me the ball to try and get a wicket and get us back in the game.

“I bowled well for those four games, although still probably not as well as I could have done, but I still picked up wickets.”

*Read a full interview with Josh Tongue on the Worcestershire CCC website during the next few days.