Northants players will need 'four-week build up' to get ready for cricket return

Assistant coach John Sadler believes it will take four weeks for the Northants players to get up to speed and be ready to play top-class cricket again.

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 5th June 2020, 9:57 am
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 10:00 am
Northants assistant coach John Sadler
Northants assistant coach John Sadler

Due to the suspension of the sport due to the coronavirus pandemic, the County squad currently remains on furlough.

The players, who have been at home since the end of March, are having to keep themselves fit and in good physical shape by various means, whether that be running, cycling, weights, or however else they can.

But they are unable to partake in any sort of cricket practise or cricket-specific training, and won’t be able to until they are recalled to work at the County Ground.

With domestic cricket not being staged in the UK until at least August 1, that Wantage Road return is set to be a few weeks away yet.

Hopes are increasing that some sort of season will be played in August and September though, with plenty of work going on behind the scenes to make cricket a safe sport to play.

And once that start date is set down in stone, the players will be recalled to prepare for action.

They are obviously going to have to go through some sort of pre-season, and speaking on the recent online forum at nccc.co.uk, Sadler outlined what he feels will need to be done to get the squad match fit.

“Firstly, we will obviously be dependent on what the medical team say,” said the former Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire batsman.

“The bowlers will probably need a little bit longer, while the batters would be more about volume.

“We have discussed it, and ideally we would like a six-week turnaround, but I think in reality it is going to be more like a four-week build up.

“We believe that from a skills perspective, that with an element of progression as well, particularly from the bowlers, and the workloads and building up to match fitness, we think that within four weeks we can get the lads ready to go.

“The fortunate thing for us is that some of our lads have played cricket over the winter, out in Australia or South Africa or wherever they have been, and also we did manage to get some volume into them in the week of the pre-season tour in Singapore.

“These lads work incredibly hard, so for the players who didn’t go away, the work they did indoors in January, February and March will still be in their system somewhere.

“So we believe that in four weeks we can get the lads up to speed.”

When Sadler left his assistant coach role at Leicestershire to join Northants at the turn of the year, nobody could have imagined what was going to happen in the world.

Sadler was looking forward to a new challenge, and working with a team in the top flight of the Specsavers County Championship.

Instead, like everybody else involved in cricket, he has found himself sitting at home waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to be contained and controlled.

Sadler did get to spend the first three months of the year working in his new surroundings though, and asked about how he has settled in, he said: “I have loved it.

“I started in January, at not only a great time for me in my career, but at a very exciting time for the club as well, and going into the first division was something I was really excited about.

“No doubt that time will come, but it has been frustrating what has happened.

“We had a fantastic build up in January and February, and then in early March we were out in Singapore, and initially for me it was about just getting to know the lads, and observing. I was sitting back and watching, starting to build up some relationships.

“It is about getting used to people and trying to fit in to the culture that is Northants at the minute.

“It has been very welcoming, and it’s a very one in, all in club, with good values and I have absolutely loved being part of it. Obviously when something like this happens things are put back a bit and in perspective, it is not as important as everybody’s health.

“But I have loved it here, it is a great club to be part of, I feel valued, I feel part of it, and I look forward to the time when we are allowed to carry on the work from the initial three months we had.

“There are great people at the club, and I am loving working with Rips (head coach David Ripley) as well, he is a top man and I am learning so much from him.”