By Adam Ellis
Reece Topley has become the first bowler to declare for List A and T20 matches only this season after two years at Hampshire hampered by injury.
The left-armer did not feature again for Hampshire towards the end of last season after suffering a recurrence of a stress fracture in his back, and the county revealed the decision was made as the 24-year-old continues his rehabilitation.
“Hampshire Cricket can announce that seamer Reece Topley has signed a white-ball contract with the Club for the 2018 season,” the county confirmed via their website.
“Topley, who joined Hampshire at the end of 2015, penned the new deal in December as part of a programme to help maximise his playing opportunities whilst preventing injury, throughout the course of the season.
“Following a proposal put forward by the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), and with the full support of the player and Hampshire, the decision has been made for the left-armer to feature in limited-overs matches throughout this summer.”
Capped in ten one-day internationals and six T20i, Topley’s back injury was deemed not requiring surgery by a specialist. Now back bowling with England’s Pace Programme he admitted his focus was on the short-term goals set by himself, Hampshire and the ECB.
“It has been a frustrating time for me as a young bowler,” Topley said.
“It is hoped that this proposal will assist me by preventing further injury as my body matures. Going forward, I do hope to return to red-ball cricket and still harbour ambitions of being the first left-arm fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets for England but that remains a long-term goal.
“The short-term goal is simply to return to performing for Hampshire and only then perhaps to try and resurrect playing for England where I am still ambitious to add to my 16 caps. I would like to thank Hampshire for their understanding and continued support and cannot wait for the coming season.”