New coaches forcing Northants players 'out of their comfort zones'

Northants batsman Alex WakelyNorthants batsman Alex Wakely
Northants batsman Alex Wakely
Alex Wakely has hailed the impact of the new coaching team at Northants, and says John Sadler and Chris Liddle are dragging the players ‘out of their comfort zones’.

Following the departures of Phil Rowe and David Sales, Sadler and Liddle were brought in over the winter.

Sadler is head coach David Ripley’s assistant, as well as lead batting coach, while Liddle is the club’s bowling coach.

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They have been working with the players since the beginning of January, and Wakely, who has been a professional at Northants for 13 years, has been impressed.

Northants assistant coach John SadlerNorthants assistant coach John Sadler
Northants assistant coach John Sadler

“It has been a breath of fresh air, it really has,” said the 31-year-old when asked about the coaching changes.

“It has been the one thing we have been crying out for, and that is no disrespect to what has happened before.

“In any sport, people get stale, and we just needed to freshen things up.

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“Obviously with me stepping down as captain, and Rowey (Phil Rowe) retiring, it was a natural time for that change.

Northants bowling coach Chris LiddleNorthants bowling coach Chris Liddle
Northants bowling coach Chris Liddle

“John and Chris have come in and they have been brilliant.”

So what is it that the new men have brought to the party?

Wakely says it is simply about a fresh set of voices, some new ideas, and also the fact that the training to date has been a pretty testing experience.

It’s certainly not been a case of some medium pace throw-downs for the batsmen, and just going through the motions for the bowlers.

When asked about Sadler and Liddle’s impact, Wakely said: “They are enthusiastic, young, fresh, and we are doing things that we didn’t do before.

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People are being taken out of their comfort zones because everything had got a bit samey and a bit safe.

“You talk about players playing in their bubble, well they are trying to take us out of it.

“We as batsmen are facing bouncers at 90mph and people are getting hit, we are doing all the uncomfortable things.

They are big on the theory that if you train hard you then play easy.

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“I know it just a simple term that people talk about and it doesn’t always mean much, but they are definitely trying to impart that on us and so far it has been great.”

The Northants players are currently on a break from training and cricket, having returned early from their training camp in Singapore on Tuesday due to the coronavirus crisis..

The squad is due to report back to the County Ground to continue the pre-season preparations on Monday.