Executing skills is the key for Wakely

Steven Crook, whose form has been excellent in first-class cricket this summer, was among the Northamptonshire bowlers who struggled in the opening one-day game of the season
Steven Crook, whose form has been excellent in first-class cricket this summer, was among the Northamptonshire bowlers who struggled in the opening one-day game of the season

Northamptonshire one-day captain Alex Wakely believes that a big improvement in his side’s skill levels is needed to get their Yorkshire Bank 40 campaign up and running.

The Steelbacks were thrashed to the tune of 83 runs by a strong Nottinghamshire side on Sunday where they were comfortably second best in all disciplines.

They return to 40-over action on Friday night when Sussex are entertained under the County Ground floodlights and Wakely expects a dramatic raising of standards.

He said: “It wasn’t a particularly good start and we didn’t quite execute our plans with both bat and ball.

“We dropped catches which you just can’t afford to do against such good players and that cost us plenty.

“The game definitely got away from us near the end of their innings and it’s all about how quickly you can go to plan B or C which we didn’t do.

“We were trying the same things and they weren’t working and we can’t do that.”

While the bowling wasn’t up to the required standard, the batting exhibited the same worrying traits of the past couple of years.

Andrew Hall and James Middlebrook aside, the pair adding 97 when the game was as good as lost, little in the way of partnerships were created which meant that the chase never got into gear, especially in the middle overs when spin was introduced.

And Wakely, who fell for a single after attempting to reverse sweep Samit Patel, knows that the same mistakes can’t keep being repeated.

He added: “We lost one wicket after another and that’s just what you don’t want.

“What it comes down to is the shot selection. It’s about playing the right shot at the right time and we didn’t do that.

“We’ve got good players of spin in the middle order but like in the Championship we need our numbers four and five to fire as Hally (Hall) and Midders (Middlebrook) showed what could be done if you stayed in.”