Batty drafted in for Southampton visit

Jon Batty, seen behind the stumps for Gloucestershire at the County Ground last season, will play for Northants this week
Jon Batty, seen behind the stumps for Gloucestershire at the County Ground last season, will play for Northants this week

Former Surrey and Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Jon Batty will play for Northamptonshire in their LV= County Championship clash with Hampshire this week.

The 39-year-old, who retired from the professional game last year, replaces David Murphy behind the stumps at the Aegas Bowl with the current incumbent on international duty with Scotland.

Ben Duckett would have been the obvious replacement but he will miss the game with a knee ligament injury and with the County unable to make any loan signings, they have turned to the experienced Batty.

Head coach David Ripley explained the move, saying: “We considered various options and spoke to a few people and we thought that we wanted someone with a bit of experience.

“The likes of Steve Snell, Ben Scott and Gerry Brophy came into the conversation as well as other lads who have played in the seconds, but we didn’t think it was right to bring someone in for what would’ve been a debut in a big game for us.

“The ECB said that we couldn’t bring in a loan player as one game wouldn’t be giving them a chance to play for any length of time so that was why we’ve brought in Jon.”

And Ripley doesn’t believe that the move represents a risk, adding: “He only finished last year and he’s been playing Premier League cricket so while it will be a challenge for him, the keeping side of it is the priority and he is good in that area.

“Also, most of the lads know him so while it’s a complication that we didn’t really need, this should be a good way around it.”

As for Duckett’s injury, Ripley revealed that it has been something that has escalated over recent weeks.

“Ben first did it in the Leicestershire game earlier in the season but it’s got worse and the other day he couldn’t really run on it,” he said.

“A scan showed that the ligament at the edge of the knee has come away a bit so it would’ve been too much of a risk to keep playing him.”

Another who could miss out is David Willey who has a back problem but a decision will be taken on his inclusion, or otherwise, as late as possible.

Grame White, who has returned from Nottinghamshire on loan for the final three four-day games, is in the squad and Rob Keogh could play as a batsman in place of Duckett.

Trent Copeland will play his final game for the club before returning to Australia.

Northants from: Peters, Middlebrook, Sales, Wakely, Hall, Crook, Keogh, Willey, Azharullah, Copeland, Batty, White.