Debutant Cobb to open as County’s season starts

Former Leicestershire skipper Josh Cobb will make his Northamptonshire debut tomorrow but Graeme White is out injured

Former Leicestershire skipper Josh Cobb will make his Northamptonshire debut tomorrow but Graeme White is out injured

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Northamptonshire’s first-class season begins tomorrow with Cambridge University their opening opposition.

The LV= County Championship campaign does not get under way until a week on Sunday.

But this three-day clash at Fenners offers Alex Wakely’s side a good opportunity to step up their preparations for the competitive cricket to come.

They will be without Richard Levi and Rory Kleinveldt who do not arrive from South Africa until Monday while Maurice Chambers, David Murphy and Graeme White are all sidelined by injury.

David Willey, who suffered a side strain on the pre-season tour to Barbados, if fit to take his place in the side.

Newcomer Josh Cobb will make his first-class debut for the County as opening batsman while Adam Rossington and Ben Duckett are likely to share the wicketkeeping duties - the latter being included having missed the Barbados trip due to poor fitness levels.

Director of cricket David Ripley said: “Josh will open in this game and we’ll see how it goes.

“Richard Levi has been opening for Cape Cobras and scoring runs and he is keen to fill that position for us.

“He has put his hand up and said that is what he wants to do.

“Obviously it is a bit different batting in April and May in England than it is in South Africa but it is something we will be looking at.

“Ben has been re-tested on his fitness levels and has shown good improvement. He is going in the right direction.

“We were always clear that if he responded the right way then he would be back in the group and that is what has happened.

“He and Adam Rossington will probably share the wicketkeeping around a little in this game.

“It’s a bit unfortunate when you have a small squad that three of them - when you add in David Murphy - are wicketkeepers.

“It leaves you with a slight imbalance because there is only one spot for them.”

Ripley is optimistic he will be able to through the two South Africans who arrive next week straight into the action.

They have a short amount of time to acclimatise before the Championship action begins.

But a two-day friendly with Worcestershire on Tuesday and Wednesday next week could give them a run-out.

Ripley added: “We’re hoping they will play some part in that game.

“They will need some game time to get the flight out of their body and get them used to the conditions.”

The match at Fenners is due to start, early April weather conditions permitting, at 11am tomorrow (Thursday).

Northamptonshire: Peters, Cobb, Wakely, Keogh, Newton, Rossington, Duckett, Willey, Crook, Stone, Azharullah.