Northants bowler Sanderson frustrated at season delay, but admits playing cricket has to be 'way down the pecking order'

Ben Sanderson has spoken of his disappointment at the fact he is not running in to bowl for Northants at Edgbaston this week, but concedes that at this time cricket and sport in general is 'way down the pecking order'.

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 5:16 pm
Northants bowler Ben Sanderson
Northants bowler Ben Sanderson

Northants should have started their Specsavers County Championship Division One campaign on Sunday with a trip to Warwickshire, but the coronavirus pandemic has put paid to that, with all cricket in the UK being suspended until at least the end of May.

That is when the Vitality T20 Blast is supposed to start, but with the country in Government-enforced lockdown until May 7 at the earliest, it is looking ever more likely that the season will be delayed for even longer.

And Sanderson accepts that, as frustrating as it is for him and his Northants team-mates, that is the way it has to be

The gates are currently locked at the County Ground

"Professional sport, and any sort of sport really, is way down the pecking order at the minute," said the pace bowler.

"The main thing is that people stay at home, they stay safe, and they look after each other. Playing cricket is just a small thing in comparison."

This summer was set to be a big one for Northants though, who after finishing runners-up in division two in September were looking forward to the first crack at top flight cricket since 2014.

But instead of taking on old rivals the Bears at Edgbaston this week, Sanderson, along with every other cricketer in the country, is sitting at home, and he admits it is a strange feeling.

"I have not missed waking up in the morning with a stiff body having bowled 30 overs in the day, so that is one positive side of it," said the 31-year-old.

"But from a personal point of view it is disappointing what's going on, because all winter you build up to this point of the season.

"It means that all of the hard work we have put in, well at the minute it feels like it has gone to waste a little bit after it had been such a good winter for the lads.

"Quite a few had gone away to play cricket abroad, so in terms of numbers it was quiet, but the lads that stayed here worked their socks off, and worked really well with the new coaches in John Sadler and Lids (Chris Liddle), who have been a breath of fresh air."

The County would have been playing their first home game of the summer this weekend, with county champions Essex the scheduled visitors, and Sanderson knows the current sporting shutdown is far from ideal for Northants or any of the counties.

"It is so frustrating," he said. "Just for the club as a whole, in terms of finances and all that, everything was going in the right direction, in terms of squad size as well.

"It is disappointing that it is all up in the air at the minute, and this could all knock clubs a step or two backwards."