Ollie Westbury is making good progress after recovering from a broken thumb – without requiring surgery.
The promising Worcestershire opener had been set to spend five months in Australia playing grade cricket for Scarborough – the club for whom Ed Barnard played last winter.
But the England Under-19 player returned home before Christmas after suffering the setback when fielding Down Under.
He saw a specialist and underwent an x-ray and the thumb has healed naturally with Westbury now stepping up his rehab with a view to resuming full cricket training by the end of January.
Worcestershire Head Of Science And Medicine Ben Davies said: “Ollie was meant to play out in Australia for the whole winter and fractured the bottom part of his thumb when he was fielding in a grade cricket game.
“He had an x-ray over there and, when we saw the x-ray, we thought we had better get him back and have it x-rayed and checked by our doctor and by a specialist over here.
“All that has been done and basically, with the amount of time that has lapsed, it means that it has healed nicely and we don’t need to do anything with it (regarding surgery).
“He is just slowly getting back into cricket now and he is hitting balls again, getting the feel of a bat again, and we will just gradually bring him back into full fielding.
“He did some catching this week and by the end of January, he will be fit to take part in everything.
“It naturally healed in a good position but we still feel we made the right decision to bring him back.”