Apr 052013
 

Gloucestershire have suffered a severe blow on the eve of the new county cricket season with confirmation that star bowler Ian Saxelby could be out of action for up to six weeks.

The club launches its LV=County Championship Second Division campaign against Essex at Chelmsford on Wednesday – but Saxelby will remain behind in Bristol to undergo treatment on his troublesome shoulder.

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Gloucestershire’s Ian Saxelby will miss the first month of the season through injury.

A key component in Gloucestershire’s four-day bowling attack, the former Nottinghamshire player has experienced further problems with the shoulder he dislocated a number of times in 2010.

Saxelby has been unable to bowl in the nets during pre-season and, when the injury failed to respond to treatment, he had a pain-killing injection in a bid to resolve the issue.

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He told The Post: “I had a problem with the shoulder during the winter, but was getting back into bowling in February and looking forward to the start of the season.

“Then, suddenly, it got worse and I could not manage it any longer. The shoulder went into clamp-down and started to spasm and I’ve not really been able to get it back from there.

“I had a cortisone injection a couple of days ago, but I won’t be available for the first game at Essex next week.

“In fact, I don’t think I’ll be able to play for at least four weeks. Hopefully, I will be in a position to play first team cricket within four to six weeks.

“Looking at the fixture list, I may only miss four games. Unfortunately, this is all part and parcel of how my body is and it is something I’m going to have to manage.

“I see my side as a big part of the team now and to miss the start of the season is frustrating.”

Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell is planning for next Wednesday’s County Championship curtain-raiser at Chelmsford without arguably his most consistent swing bowler.

But the New Zealander feels Saxelby’s loss can be someone else’s gain and he is challenging his young battery of swing bowlers to step up to the plate.

He admitted: “Losing someone of Saxelby’s experience and skill-set is a tough blow for us this early in the season.

“But equally, Liam Norwell, David Payne and James Fuller now have to begin stepping up to the mark.

“We know Will Gidman will do that and put the ball in the right areas day in and day out. He is predominantly a seam bowler, while the others are swing bowlers.

“These swing bowlers need to learn the length and line they need to bowl on a consistent basis without getting too adventurous and too excited about swing.”

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