Ripley explains Middlebrook’s ascension

James Middlebrook captained Northants for the first time against Somerset
James Middlebrook captained Northants for the first time against Somerset

Experience and a settled place in the side were the main factors behind James Middelbrook’s elevation to the role of Northamptonshire captain.

For the LV= County Championship clash with Somerset, the all-rounder has stepped into the breach created by Stephen Peters’ absence through injury and head coach David Ripley admitted that he was the obvious candidate for the role, despite the presence in the side of limited overs skipper Kyle Coetzer.

He said : “They (Middlebrook and Coetzer) were the main candidates.

“Obviously Kyle has only just come back into the team and James has been an ever present so that made it a bit easier.

“We didn’t want to burden Kyle too much as he’s got to concentrate on getting runs in the four-day stuff.

“James has got a lot of experience, he’s usually got a lot of good things to say, it’s a short-term thing and he was the best man to captain in this game.”

As for the extent of Peters’ calf injury, which was picked up in the defeat at Hove, Ripley thinks his absence shouldn’t be for an extended period of time.

He added: “We’ve got a gap after this fixture and it’s a while before we play against Nottinghamshire.

“I’m pretty sure he’ll be fully fit for that match.

“If he’s fit then there will be some debate over whether to included him in the 50-over stuff but I certainly see him making his way back for the Notts game.”