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4th July 2020 Interviews

Potts: It was brilliant to get the call to return to training

Matthew Potts believes that he has come out of the other side of lockdown with an improved maturity as a professional as the Durham bowler prepares for the truncated cricket season.

Without the guidance of Durham’s coaching and fitness staff, the 21-year-old made it a priority to remain at his physical peak during the period of confinement. Over the past three years the paceman has battled injuries that have held his development in check.

Potts has admitted that it was a huge challenge to stick to his regimen of training. However, the goal of being ready for the start of the season, which has been confirmed for August 1, kept him on the straight and narrow to ensure that he is ready to go from the off.

“It has been hard to keep being disciplined,” Potts said.

“You get the mind set of having four days of training and one day off then you have the weekend – that’s the way I looked at the programme.

“Gaining that discipline – I felt I was growing up a bit more. I think I’ve matured a little bit to develop that self-discipline. I knew the outcome was to hopefully return fit for the start of the cricket season.

“There’s not going to be a lot of time left in the season so avoiding injuries to play as many games as I can was definitely the end goal. Every week during lockdown was train, train and train – then I could have a little rest at the weekend, but then go back and repeat the same process.

“It did get tedious at times, but then the self-discipline had to kick in – and you had to tell yourself ‘how much do you want this?’ You don’t want to be the one that’s going back to training and be completely unfit, and having lost everything you’ve worked so hard for during the pre-season.”

Potts was named in a six-man group of bowlers to get the call from director of cricket Marcus North to return to training ahead of the rest of the Durham squad last week.

He has admitted that he was delighted and relieved to step back on the field at Emirates Riverside amid growing resentment towards his fellow sportsmen in the worlds of football and golf.

Potts added: “It was absolutely brilliant receiving that call. I remember the phone call quite well. Marcus North phoned and told me that I was going to be part of a select group to return. I was chomping at the bit. It was quite a frustrating time, especially with football starting up. We were wondering when we were going to get the go ahead.

“It’s hard to keep yourself motivated when you’re at full fitness, but you cannot do the thing you want the most. Then you see golf and football starting up and you’re thinking ‘well come on!’ You’re raring to go and that’s when it has been the hardest.

“The last couple of weeks have been the toughest. We’ve had to trust the process and we knew that we would get out there eventually.

“To get back out there in the nets was just pure elation. It felt natural to be back out there. I’d been doing little bits around the back garden, bowling a few balls off the walls.

“Going back into work to bowl was not too big of a jump. It was all about ensuring that I didn’t have any soreness or other issues that would stop me hitting the ground running.”

 

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