Somerset cricket: Steve Kirby is backing Overton twins to star for club
STEVE Kirby has backed Jamie and Craig Overton – one of whom will take the injured seam bowler's place in Somerset's side today – to make the most of their opportunity to shine.
Paceman Kirby was yesterday ruled out for four to six weeks with a thigh muscle tear, with Somerset's medical team erring on the side of caution, while the Lancastrian himself is confident of playing again in a month.
Kirby, who has taken 10 wickets in Somerset's three LV= County Championship matches so far this season, will join skipper Marcus Trescothick on the sidelines for today's match against Lancashire at Taunton.
The captain has been ruled out for "six to seven weeks" with an ankle injury and will have surgery to repair tendons later today.
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Lewis Gregory will open the batting in Trescothick's absence, while one of the 18-year-old Overton twins – seamer Jamie or all-rounder Craig – will deputise for Kirby, with a final decision being made this morning.
"These things happen in professional sport, without being too cliché about it," said Kirby.
"You put yourself under stressful situations on the field and things happen – and sometimes you can't put your finger on why it's happening or why the team is getting hit by a series of injuries.
"But you can either get down about it and start feeling like you are being victimised, or you can look at the silver lining, which is that we have got a lot of good youngsters coming through the club.
"The Overton twins are available for the next few weeks and there is a big opportunity for one, if not both, of them to shine. And I can promise you, they are fantastic young prospects.
"I think it's important that we don't build them up too much, because with any young kid, there is expectation – especially when they are as talented as those two.
"And, even if they don't perform that well in this game, the future is going to be very good for them. Whoever plays against Lancashire, whether it's Jamie or Craig or both of them, I just hope they relax and go out and enjoy it."
Kirby is now beginning a period of rehabilitation with Somerset's physio, Ian Brewer, and head of strength and conditioning, Darren Veness – which means using Veness's infamous 'Prowler' machine in the gym as he bids for full fitness.
"The one real downer about being injured is the amount of time I'll have to spend with Daz and Brewsy in the next few weeks," said Kirby. "I know I'm in for a bit of pain. Getting injured is never a good thing at Somerset and I hope Daz blows the Prowler up, to be honest. But I also know I'm in good hands, because those guys are fantastic at what they do."
With Trescothick injured and Alfonso Thomas at the Indian Premier League, James Hildreth will captain Somerset in today's match against the reigning county champions.
Somerset (from): Suppiah, Gregory, Compton, Hildreth (capt), Kieswetter, Buttler, Trego, Meschede, J Overton, Philander, Dockrell, C Overton.