Hall closing in on a return for Northants

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.

Andrew Hall is closing on a return to first-team action but it won’t be in the Friends Life t20 double-header against Warwickshire and Welsh Dragons over the next two days.

The Steelbacks’ captain appeared in the first group game of the 20-over campaign but hasn’t played since due to a calf injury.

And although he is improving steadily, he isn’t quite ready for a competitive return and is likely to play for the second XI next week to get some miles in the legs according to head coach David Capel.

He said: “He’s had a bat in the nets and a walk through with his bowling but he’s not quite ready.

“He’s gradually built it up but the target is the game against the Unicorns at Wellingborough School.

“If he’s right for that then he will be able to have a proper bowl in a match situation and give it a real test.”

It is a similar situation with David Sales who is also near to coming back into the fold.

The batsman hasn’t played since pulling a hamstring in the Championship clash with Gloucestershire and while it is possible he could play this evening (against Warwickshire at the County Ground), the second XI is looking a more likely route back.

“Jumble (Sales) has had a good workout in the field and a couple of nets but like Andrew (Hall) he isn’t quite right,” Capel added.

“It’s possible he could play (today) but the last thing we want is for him to play then spend a few hours on the bus to Cardiff and seize up.

“That wouldn’t do anybody any good and if he pulls up it could be another six weeks before he can play again.

“The most sensible thing to do is for him to play for the seconds in a one-day game leading up to our final Twenty20 games and then the return of the CB40 and the Championship.

“Basically, and this goes for Andrew as well, they need to be able top come in and play properly without worrying about any injuries they’ve had.”

There will be two changes in personnel for the next two encounters with the duo of Jack Brooks (Achilles) and Ollie Stone (back) being rested.

Lee Daggett will come back into contention after recovering from a broken finger.