Katie Levick puts Covid behind her in bid to shine for Northern Diamonds

Katie Levick has had a tough winter battling against the after-effects of Coronavirus – but she is intent on following it with a special summer in Northern Diamonds colours.

Back in business: Katie Levick at Headingley which will have fans in for Saturday’s Northern Diamonds opener. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Levick, the prolific Yorkshire leg-spinner, tested positive for Covid in late October.

An aborted return to training was followed by hospital visits and cardiology consultations.

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She finally returned to training with the Diamonds at the end of March, and while her workload is still under careful management, she is hopeful of being fit for the start of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy on Saturday. Levick, 29, played an integral part as the Diamonds reached the final of last season’s RHF Trophy, leaving her confident that they can better that finish this summer.

The Northern Diamonds Katie Levick celebrates the wicket of the Southern Vipers's Carla Rudd in last year's competition (Picture: SWPix.com)

“It’s certainly been a long old road,” said the Sheffield-born spinner.

“At the end of October, I got put into isolation. I was actually quite happy because it was fitness testing week. I was like, ‘Oooh no, what a shame!’

“But, whilst in isolation, I started developing Covid symptoms.

“After a month or so of being wiped out, I got back to training very slowly. But that ground to a halt in January because my heart wasn’t reacting how it should to exercise.

“Then it was a lot of hospital visits and no exercise before rejoining the group at the end of March. I’ve had injuries in the past but never a health battle. It’s been interesting, and I can be thankful for a lot of things.”

One of those is the new professional era of women’s domestic cricket in England.

Although not one of the Diamonds five contracted players for 2021, she said: “Having the professional set-up we have now has given me access to medical staff and hospital visits that I would never have had.

“Who knows, had I returned to cricket in an amateur setting, it could have been a very different story. The Diamonds said straightaway, ‘We’re here for everything you need – we have doctors, physios and a strength and conditioning coach available to you’.

“They also got me added to the ECB medical insurance so that I could have a cardiologist’s appointment with the top guy. I’m really, really thankful.”

Levick is closing in on 250 career wickets for Yorkshire women, the Yorkshire Diamonds and now the Northern Diamonds combined. Safe to say, she has been there and done it at domestic level.

However, that tally is very much a case of ‘and counting’.

She said: “Cecilia (Allen, Yorkshire’s cricket operations manager and former player) messaged me, saying, ‘Use this to come back stronger’. So I’ve tried to keep that in my mind ever since.

“It’s given me a reset. Cricket was everything to me. All that mattered was taking wickets and scoring runs.

“All of a sudden, my parents were like, ‘If it’s all over, it’s absolutely fine. Your health is the important thing’.

“But I’m not done yet with cricket.

“Last year when we all came back to play in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, it made us all want to play that bit more. This, for me, has only added to that.”

Central Sparks provide the Diamonds with their opening round 50-over opponents at Emerald Headingley on Saturday. Diamonds were top of last season’s North Group, just pipping the Sparks to a final berth. Levick added: “It should stand us in good stead. There’s no reason why we can’t do well again this year.”

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