County Championship 2021
Abbott's UK stint ends with 'badly damaged' hamstring
NSW allrounder Sean Abbot's bid to put himself back in the T20 World Cup conversation for Australia ends in injury on his debut in the County Championship
4 June 2021, 11:21 AM AEST
Sean Abbott's first foray into English county cricket has ended after the allrounder "badly damaged" his hamstring in his debut game.
The NSW Blues allrounder will return to Australia next week having been forced to cut short his stint with Surrey after picking up the injury while bowling last Saturday.
On his County Championship debut, Abbott hit 40 with the bat and took 2-5 in five second-innings overs in Surrey's innings-and-47-runs victory against Gloucestershire at The Oval.
Abbott's left ankle rolled in the footmarks as he delivered the final ball of his fifth over in Gloucestershire's second innings. The bowler grabbed at his hamstring and immediately left the field.
A Cricket NSW spokesperson said Abbott had suffered a Grade 2 hamstring tear and associated tendon damage in the incident, and is facing an eight-week rehab period.
He will fly on Monday, after allowing the initial swelling from the injury to settle, and will be provided with specialised equipment during his two-week hotel quarantine period to begin his rehab.
With about 14 weeks until the expected start of the Australian domestic summer, CNSW are confident he'll be fit in time for the 2021-22 season.
Abbott had been due to play three County Championship matches with Surrey and the group stages of the T20 Blast competition in a stint that was expected to run until July 16.
It was in the T20 competition that Abbott was hoping the make the most impact with the T20 World Cup coming up later this year.
Abbott effectively fell through the cracks when Australia's Test campaign of South Africa was called off in February; the right-armer was selected for that tour but not only missed a chance to push for a Test debut against the Proteas, he was also unable to show his T20 wares on the tour of New Zealand that ran concurrently.
With the likes of Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson impressing on that tour, Abbott signed up to head to the UK extending a gruelling summer campaign that effectively began in late August.
Despite the heavy workload, relative health risks of travelling to the UK and the requirement to quarantine upon his return home, Abbott says the chance to push his case for a World Cup spot was too good to pass up.
"It's been a long season and it's been tough being in bubbles, being away from home a lot and not being sure a lot of the time with plans changing and last-minute scheduling and 'are we flying here or there?'," Abbott said in April.
"(Going to England) was certainly something we had to talk about seriously (as a family), and then obviously the risks with COVID.
"But also, it's a World Cup year. I missed out on that trip to New Zealand having been selected in the South African squad and with a lot of guys playing really good cricket at the minute, there's a lot of competition for those spots for the tours at the back end of the calendar year.
"So (it was about) weighing up the risks and time away from home with going over and trying to improve and trying to put my hand up for those spots at the end of the year.
"It's another heavy workload, to be away for another 8-10 weeks, with quarantine back home on the back of that. It was certainly something that was spoken about with Brier (his fiancée) and my family.
"But that was the risk I was willing to take given the year we've got ahead."
Abbott becomes the second Australian to suffer a season-ending injury in their first game of the UK season after fast bowler Billy Stanlake suffered a stress fracture in his back in his debut match with Derbyshire.
"Sean's injury is incredibly unfortunate as he made a great impression during his first game and had already become a popular member of the dressing room," said Surrey director of cricket, Alec Stewart.
The injury is a sour end to what had been a successful 2020-21 campaign on home soil for the 29-year-old.
The right-armer played against India in one-day and T20 cricket last December before travelling with Australia's Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series.
He then helped the Sydney Sixers claim back-to-back KFC BBL titles and had been a standout player for the Blues in the Marsh Sheffield Shield, and was a key contributor as the state won the Marsh One-Day Cup, taking 4-23 and holding a brilliant outfield catch in the final.
In eight Shield matches, Abbott claimed 21 wickets at 27.70 and scored 570 runs, passing 50 six times while scoring his maiden first-class century.