RAYNER PLAYS THROUGH THE PAIN BARRIER
OLLIE RAYNER has vowed to bowl through the pain barrier to help ensure Middlesex’s Division One survival.
A troublesome knee injury meant Rayner’s appearance in last week’s London derby with Surrey at The Oval was his first for the tenants of Lord’s in more than seven weeks.
Surgery is planned for the end of the season.
Until then, the off-spinner hopes a series of albeit increasingly ineffective injections can help him play a part in keeping last season’s champions safe from the drop this time around.
Speaking prior to this week’s clash with Yorkshire at Headingly, Rayner told The Gazette: “Basically I’ve got a tear in the cartilage of my knee.
“I’ve got to go and have it all cleaned out at the end of the season, so hopefully I’ll get through the last four games.
“The injections are lasting for less and less time as the season goes on, so if I get all four games in I’ll be over the moon.”
“I just want to get back to how I was bowling last year and at the start of this. If I get anywhere close to that hopefully I will be alright for the runin.
“It’s all about getting into a good rhythm, keeping the pressure on and helping the lads in any way I can.”
The 31–year-old acknowledged the injury has been challenging mentally as well as physically.
He admits there is no guarantee he would have been part of the club’s T20 plans even if he had been 100 per cent, but says the combination of the cricket schedule and being on the side-lines has meant he has inevitably found himself on the outside looking in.
“It seems like I’ve been out for a longer period than I actually have because of the T20 block, which I don’t think, even if the knee was alright, I would have been a part of anyway,” he added.
“But I like to tell people it was because of the knee so I don’t damage my ego too much.
“I’m not going to lie though, the schedule is really hard because if you are not playing you are out of the team environment.
“The T20 is a totally different team and if you are out of it, although we are one squad, you are on the fringes very much so.
“That is nothing against the coaches at all because there is not an awful lot they can do in terms of that. It is just the nature of the beast and they have been great with me up until now, so hopefully I can repay them and get the bowling back to where it was before the knee was bad.”
Ollie Rayner will go under the knife at the end of the season