Outstanding Second XI form shows character of Coetzer and Crook

Kyle Coetzer has started the season in sensational form for Northamptonshire 2nd XI

Kyle Coetzer has started the season in sensational form for Northamptonshire 2nd XI

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Northamptonshire director of cricket David Ripley has paid tribute to the professionalism of two of his side’s early-season fringe players.

When the team to play Gloucestershire in the opening LV= County Championship match was named, neither Scotland star Kyle Coetzer nor all-rounder Steven Crook were involved.

However, both have taken the opportunity to further their claims for a place by performing to a high level in the second-string.

Coetzer today hit an unbeaten 250 in the Second XI friendly against Derbyshire having also made 115 not out for for a combined Northamptonshire/Kent side that took on Warwickshire last week.

Crook also put in an incredible all-round display in that match smashing 141 not out from 127 balls and taking 8-37.

However, Ripley expected nothing less than a positive reaction from his players.

“The decisions for the first game of the season were very tough,” the head coach stated.

“But that’s what you’re looking for. That’s what makes a squad tick.

“I do like continuity in selection, though - especially with the batsmen.

“It’s good if they know they are in the side for a little while and they are not feeling under that pressure to score runs to stay in.

“Steve, Kyle and Ben Duckett, as well, were unlucky to miss out on that first game.

“So what you want is someone in the second team banging out big hundreds and giving everyone else a nudge.

“They are going away and doing it.

“But they are good professionals and there is no surprise they have responded in that way.

“It is sending out a message that they should be in the team.

“It means that if there are injuries or we decide to review the make-up of the team that they can come in in form.”

The County declared on 448-6 with Rob Newton also making 82 to add to Coetzer’s efforts.

Derbyshire then closed the day on 39-1 with Maurice Chambers, on his return from injury, taking the only wicket.

The match continues at Wantage Road tomorrow.