Overton twins hope to make England dream come true this summer

England's Craig Overton celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Marnus Labuschagne during day on

England's Craig Overton celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Marnus Labuschagne during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester in 2019. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Craig Overton is looking forward to the day he and twin Jamie line-up together in the same England side.

Craig Overton. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire.

Craig Overton. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Craig, the elder brother by between two and three minutes, already has four Test caps to his name.

Jamie, like Craig a full-timer on Somerset’s staff, has played for England at almost every level including the Lions XI without making the final step into the Test side.

Injury issues have plagued the younger Overton for several seasons, but they appear to have receded.

The Barnstaple-born Overtons were named in the 55-man England training squad announced a few days ago in readiness for the hoped-for resumption of international cricket in July.

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The bowlers in the squad began training individually at their clubs last Friday and Craig is convinced his brother is ready to make a strong case for selection in the proposed forthcoming series against West Indies, which awaits final sign-off from the UK Government.

“From a distance, it looks to me as though Jamie is bowling rockets in the nets,” said Craig who, like his twin, was playing adult league cricket with North Devon before his 14th birthday.

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“Despite his past injury problems, he is capable of bowling as fast or faster than anyone in the country.

“Jamie has been really unfortunate with injuries. But his back problems appear over and, although he had ankle surgery at the end of last season, he had played in a lot of the games.

“Like many of the players at Somerset, he is approaching his peak years. Our aim since schooldays has been to both play for England and I firmly believe it will happen.”

Craig had a busy winter, attending a fast bowling camp in Cape Town, then returning there with the England squad and finally spending six weeks in Australia with the Lions.

Jamie also travelled Down Under with the Lions party, but purely to aid his rehabilitation after the ankle operation.

“We both enjoyed what was a very successful tour,” said Craig. “Although Jamie couldn’t play, he certainly benefited from training on grass and in warm weather.

“I’m not looking forward to facing him in the nets when that becomes possible. Every team in the world wants a genuinely quick seam bowler and Jamie fits that bill.”

Craig admits life has been strange since he returned from Australia in March.

“I was looking forward to a week’s rest before Somerset’s proposed pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“But that had to be cancelled and the break from cricket has turned out to be much longer than I expected.

“During the furlough period, I have kept myself fit by doing a lot of running and some gym work in the garden. But it isn’t the same as training with your team-mates.”

The ECB is awaiting Government approval to stage international cricket this summer with hopes to stage a behind-closed-doors Test series against West Indies.

With any schedule of matches likely to be close together there appears a likelihood players will be rotated. That could provide the likes of the Overton twins and those named in the back-to-training group opportunities to make a mark across formats this summer.

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