Gay says Steelbacks are targeting Royal London One Day Cup glory

Emilio Gay believes the Steelbacks have got a great chance of seriously challenging for the Royal London One Day Cup crown.

By Jeremy Casey
Saturday, 24th July 2021, 9:51 am
Updated Saturday, 24th July 2021, 9:54 am
Northants batsman Emilio Gay

Northants start their 50-over campaign on Sunday when they host Glamorgan at the County Ground (11am start), and the young batsman believes he is part of a team that is capable of making its mark.

The One Day Cup is being played at the same time as The Hundred, and all the 18 counties have been hit by player call-ups for that, with Northants losing skipper Josh Cobb, Adam Rossington and Brandon Glover.

But compared to some of the teams the County's player losses have been minimal, and Gay believes there is no reason why the Steelbacks shouldn't be considered as serious title contenders.

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Asked if he fancied Northants' chances, Gay said: "Yeah, why not?

"You look at Nottinghamshire for example, they have lost probably seven or eight players, so from perspective we still have a lot of experience.

"We still have Graeme White, Luke Procter, Tom Taylor, Vasco (Ricardo Vasconcelos), all these top players in white ball cricket.

"There is Rob Keogh as well, really good, experienced players, and that will hold us in really good stead.

"From that perspective, when you look around some of the other counties, some of their star players have gone, and I don't see why we can't make a claim."

As well as missing the trio of players, the Steelbacks will also be without their head coach for the competition.

David Ripley is also away on Hundred duty, working as assistant coach to Shane Warne at London Spirit, and that means the boss duties at the County Ground have been switched to John Sadler.

Sadler, who is assistant to Ripley at Northants as well as the club's batting coach, will be making all the decisions along with bowling coach Chris Liddle, and Gay feels it will be a smooth transition.

"We have got Sads in charge now, with Rips almost passing on the baton to him," said Gay.

"It is not too much of a difference for us as we have spent a lot of time in the winter with him (Sadler).

"It will almost be like a new voice though for the next month, but there is not going to be too much of a difference.

"He already has a big say, he is well respected, he is a good coach and him and Lidds (Chris Liddle) work closely together anyway.

"So it shouldn't be too much of a shake-up."

The clash with Glamorgan is the first of eight Group B games for the Steelbacks, who will also host Derbyshire (Aug 1), Somerset (Aug 8) and Leicestershire (Aug 12).

Their away games are at Yorkshire (July 28), Surrey (July 30), Birmingham Bears (Aug 6) and Notts Outlaws (Aug 10).

The top three in the group qualify for the knockout stages, with the winners progressing straight to the semi-finals.

The second and third place teams play off against the second and third-placed teams from Group A, with the winners of those games progressing into the semis to take on the two group winners for a place in the final, which will be held at Trent Bridge on Thursday, August 19.

The play-off matches are pencilled in for Saturday, August 14, with the semi-finals to be played on Tuesday, August 17.