Nathan able to Buck up his ideas after Northants move
If you feel your career has stalled and you want to get it back on the road, Northants is the County for you.
That could almost be the club’s tagline these days as they have made a habit of taking unloved players and turning them
into high performance machines.
In the bowling department alone, they have helped to kick-start several careers since David Ripley took charge in 2012.
In recent times, the likes of Ben Sanderson and Richard Gleeson have been plucked from obscurity to become polished gems.
Gleeson, who was working as a community coach for the Lancashire Cricket Board, came in last season and became one of the stars of the white-ball campaign.
And Sanderson’s impact was just as great, as he starred in the four-day format, as well as playing a key role in the NatWest T20 Blast finals day success story at Edgbaston.
This year, the one new face through the door has been another bowler searching for a bit of TLC.
Nathan Buck admits his career had hit the buffers after his big move from Leicestershire to Lancashire failed to reap the desired rewards.
This summer, the right-arm medium-fast bowler has swapped Old Trafford for Wantage Road in a bid to get back on track.
And if his debut is anything to go by, Northants will get plenty of bang for their Buck in 2017 and beyond.
The 25-year-old claimed four wickets in a crushing innings and 22 runs win against Glamorgan as Northants wrappped up their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash inside two days.
It was all over by Saturday, with Buck given the boost he needed to put his difficult times at Lancashire to bed.
“My career had stalled, a little bit through injury, a little bit through lack of opportunity and maybe I haven’t taken the opportunity when it’s been given to me sometimes,” Buck said.
“I’m looking forward to this year because I’m fit, I’m bowling well and hopefully this can be take two.
“I thought my last move was going to work out a bit better than what it did but with limited opportunities up there, I spoke to Ashley Giles, who was coach at the time, and there weren’t many four-day opportunities.
“As a cricketer at my age I want to be playing all forms and he said I could speak to other counties.
“I spoke to Rips and he was honest with what he could offer me here and I thought it would fit everything I wanted and I wanted to give it a go.”
Last week, Alex Wakely hailed Buck as Northants’ best bowler during the winter, tipping the player to take 50 wickets in the championship this season.
“He must have been drunk at the time,” joked Buck.
“It’s nice to have the backing of the captain.
“It’s great he’s got some faith in me, I don’t know where he’s got it from, but I’ll hopefully pull my finger out and reward him.
“Rips has given me a good chance here and I’d like to repay him and do well again.
“I’ve had a couple of tough years up north and hopefully I can do my best here.”
So what does Buck think to Wakely’s prediction that he will claim a half-century of championship victims this season?
“I’m not really a numbers man,” he said, coolly.
“I just think if I can contribute to helping the boys win some games, it’s all good.”
Buck will continue to take inspiration from team-mate Sanderson, who starred for Northants last season and who took seven a total of wickets in the comfortable win against Glamorgan.
Having been released by Yorkshire, Sanderson found himself working on a building site before Northants came calling.
And Buck, who will look to help his new side defeat Derbyshire this week, said: “Sando has been a great story. He was at Yorkshire for a while and then out of the game, but it just shows what a bit of confidence from the support staff can do.
“They had confidence in him and he’s come in and done really well.
“Seeing Ben do that is obviously inspiring for me and it’s doable.
“He’s showing you can go out and get 50 wickets even if you haven’t been playing.
“Credit to him and when you look around the changing room, people think ‘Northants, small county’, but if you look at the quality, it’s world class.
“It’s quite exciting.”