Toby Roland-Jones
Toby Roland-Jones (AFP Photo)

England pacer Toby Roland-Jones burst onto the international scene with four wickets off his first 33 deliveries in Test cricket in July 2017.

In a dominating win by England over South Africa at Kennington Oval, Roland-Jones shined through his match-figures of 8/129 including a first innings five-wicket haul. In an impressive start, he took 17 wickets in four Tests at 19.64 before stress fracture brought an unexpected halt to his blossoming career.

He was all set for to tour Australia for the Ashes series but an injured back put paid to the hopes. He recovered before hurting the same part again and this time it the injury was even worse in 2018.

It was in April 2018 that he last played a competitive match before charting his way back in March this year playing for Middlesex against Oxford MCCU. He also played in their County Championship opener against Northants taking 1/89 and scoring 27 runs in a drawn affair.

While he might have fallen back in pecking order, Roland-Jones is hopeful of representing England again but is ‘cautious about overreaching’

“I’ve got ambitions to try and represent England again, of course I do, but I think reality states that you have to, in my situation, be a bit more in the present than that right now,” the 31-year-old said. “I think it’s something that you have to be a little bit cautious about overreaching maybe for that, purely on the basis that there’s lots to take care of and look forward to here first and foremost.”

Reflecting on the tough times he endured following his back injuries, Roland-Jones said, “I never had an injury that was too serious in that [first five year of his career] period, which is probably the reason that I got into that England squad in the first place because I was able to consistently back up performances rather than being someone who burst on after one sparkling summer.”

He continued, “You suddenly reflect on that and you think that maybe I am not as unlucky as I am being told because I had such a good run. You do find a way of recognising different situations and knowing that if that happens at the age of 22 then I might not be here chatting now.”

He’s determined to perform at the levels which pushed him into England reckoning. “If I was coming into this fresh and having had time behind me and knowing that I had performances behind me in the winter I would maybe feel slightly different, but I do want to try and push myself to achieve as much as I can in this summer and don’t want to be seen as someone who could no longer perform at that level,” he said.