Duckett in line for County debut

Steelbacks interim head coach David Ripley
Steelbacks interim head coach David Ripley
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England Under-19 batsman Ben Duckett will make his Northamptonshire first team debut on Sunday in the final Friends Life t20 group game.

The Steelbacks play host to a Gloucestershire side who are in with a chance of making the knockout stages and with Kyle Coetzer on international duty with Scotland, Ripley (pictured) will give the highly-rated Duckett an opportunity.

The Stowe School student is off to Australia for the U19 World Cup next month and Ripley is keen to get him involved in the senior set-up.

He said: “He’s been in good form in the second XI and phenomenal form at school.

“It’s a good time to give him a taste of the first team and to get a feel for it and with Kyle away, it’s created an ideal chance for him.”

Duckett had been part of the 13-man squad that was due to travel to Worcester today but the visitors didn’t even make it out of the County Ground car park following an early decision to call the game off.

And that was an outcome that left Ripley a touch deflated.

He added: “It’s been the tale of the season really. Even though there was nothing on the game for us, it would’ve been good for a few of the lads to get another game.

“One or two of them who aren’t frontline first team players could do with the opportunity.”

And that will apply to Sunday’s game, a contest that Ripley admitted he is pleased isn’t a completely dead rubber.

He continued: “I’m glad it’s that way and that there is something on it.

“We need a bit of luck with the weather - the forecast I’ve seen isn’t great - and if we do then it’ll be good to get some cricket in.”

One player who won’t be involved is David Sales.

The middle order batsman is fit to resume active duty after recovering from a hamstring problem but that will come for the second team next week in preparation for the resumption of the Championship programme.

Ripley said: “We had a full sclae training session on Thursday and David took part in that.

“He’s been batting for a while now but we aren’t going to rush him back.

“He’ll play on Tuesday for the seconds with Hally (Andrew Hall) and again in the CB40 on Friday before we get back into red ball cricket.

“That’s his way back into it.”