Sadler hopeful skipper Vasconcelos will return for Warwickshire clash

Captain Ricardo Vasconcelos is pencilled in for a playing return in Sunday's LV= Insurance County Championship Division One meeting with reigning champions Warwickshire at Wantage Road.

By Jeremy Casey
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 10:17 am
Updated Saturday, 25th June 2022, 10:17 am
Northants skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos hasn't played any cricket since May 25
Northants skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos hasn't played any cricket since May 25

The 25-year-old hasn't featured since he broke a thumb while fielding in Northants' draw with Kent on May 25.

Vasconcelos has failed to feature in the Vitality Blash North Group campaign, but head coach John Sadler is hopeful that the left-handed opener will be fit enough to lead the team against Warwickshire as red ball cricket returns.

"We are hoping Vasco will be okay for the four-day match against Warwickshire," said the Northants head coach.

"The T20 games were a fraction too soon for him, and the last thing we wanted to do was bring him back, him get a knock on the injury and then that puts him out for another month or two.

"We just have to be careful with that and manage it right, but ultimately I don't think he is too far away and we are very hopeful he will be okay to play against Warwickshire as captain."

Also set to return to the Championship team are Gareth Berg and Luke Procter, who have both been rested for the T20s, as well as left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan.

Emilio Gay has made one Blast appearance, but will also be back for the four-day stuff.

Overseas signing Ryan Rickelton will make his debut for the club, while Sadler says 'a late call' will be made on whether or not New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham will feature against Warwickshire.

When the signing of Neesham for entirety of the Vitality Blast was announced in the winter, the club stated that he would also be available for the four-day game against Warwickshire.

That is still the case, and Neesham is believed to be keen to play, but Sadler has revealed the 31-year-old is carrying 'a couple of niggles' and that it may be the wiser move to allow him to rest ahead of the final Blast North Group game at Leicester next Friday.

"Jimmy has a couple of little niggles," said the Northants head coach. "He has a toe niggle that he has been having injections for, having them half-an-hour before the T20 games.

"That's something we have to monitor and manage, and we also respect as well that he has not played loads of red ball cricket recently, so we have to respect his body a little bit."There is a chance he could play for us against Warwickshire, but that is yet to be decided.

"Jimmy has played well in the T20. He is a modern day cricketer, he bats, he bowls and can impact the game in any discipline.

"He has been great for us, so we don't want to give him too much to do, but I know he is potentially keen to play some red ball cricket for us.

"We will have to see and will make a late call on that."

Northants have yet to win a four-day game this season, drawing five of the six they have played, and they go into the Warwickshire game third from bottom in the Division One table.

They are just five points ahead of second-from-bottom Somerset, but have a game in hand, while Warwickshire in fifth are 12 points better off than the County, also having played a game more.