ROB NEWTON will open the batting for the Steelbacks when they take on the Unicorns in the Clydesdale Bank 40 on Sunday.
With David Willey being given a few days off ahead of a hectic few weeks, Newton will be elevated from the middle order in a move that interim head coach David Ripley hopes will provide him the chance to show what he can do.
The 22-year-old has been up and down the order in both the four-day and limited overs formats this season and Ripley is seeking to give him more ‘clarity’ in his role in the side.
He said: “Rob’s opened in both forms and so he’s used to going in first.
“He’a a naturally attacking player who can come out of the blocks quite quickly and it could suit him.
“We want to give a bit of clarity there as in the middle order he sometimes doesn’t know whether to stick or twist and by opening he can play his game without thinking about that.
“The challenge for him will be to turn a chirpy 50 or 60 into a 100.”
The only change to the side who were comfortably beaten by group leaders Sussex is likely to be Lee Daggett coming in for Willey who Ripley says warrants a bit of time to put his feet up.
He added: “He’s a whole-hearted cricketer who throws himslef into whatever he does.
“He is having the weekend and Monday off before we train on Tuesday and it is well-deserved.”
That will mean that Rob Keogh, who has been in the runs for the second team, will keep his place in the side but there will be no Jack Brooks, Chaminda Vaas or Andrew Hall.
The latter trio are all on the injury list and while Ripley admitted that he would prefer to have them available, the more pressing concern is to have them ready for the challenge of trying to gain promotion in the Championship.
“I’d like to be able to pick them but it isn’t the end of the world that I can’t,” he said.
“With it being a stand alone fixture it could have been a good run out for them but it gives otheres an opportunity.
“Jack will still be a long-shot for the Yorkshire game next week but the other two are more medium shots and we’re hopeful they’ll be okay.”