Skipper Vasconcelos content with County's solid start to the season

Northamptonshire are still striving for their first win in LV= Insurance County Championship Division One, but skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos has been pleased with his team's start to the summer.

By Jeremy Casey
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:09 pm
Northants skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos has been pleased with his side's start to the Championship season
Northants skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos has been pleased with his side's start to the Championship season

The County go into their home clash with Kent at Wantage Road on Thursday (start 11am) off the back of four draws and one defeat in their five matches to date.

They have been competitive in every encounter aside from one, the three-day defeat against Surrey at the Kia Oval, and have been arguably the better side in three of the other four.

And that has left the club's new skipper pretty satisfied.

Ricardo Vasconcelos was delighted to be back in the runs against Warwickshire

"I am pleased on the whole, although I was disappointed with our performance at Surrey," said Vasconcelos.

"We hold our hands up because we know that wasn't our best performance, albeit against a really good attack. I still think we are better than that.

"But I was pleased with our showing against Essex, where I would say we played all the cricket and they managed to hold on.

"Against Warwickshire we played cricket in the right way, we were positive in terms of the run-rate we scored at and the timing of our declaration.

"But then we just couldn't do anything really on that wicket.

"Against Gloucestershire I think we should have won that game. That is probably the one we look at the most and say we had that in our hands and we let it slip.

"But on the whole I think we’ve shown teams that we are not just here to roll over, as some might have expected. We are here to compete in every game."

Vasconcelos was also relieved and delighted that he found some overdue form with the bat against Warwickshire last week.

The skipper had endured a lean time of things by his very high standards ahead of the trip to Birmingham, scoring just 90 runs in seven LV= Insurance County Championship innings.

But he more than made up for that sluggish start against the reigning champions, cracking a superb 156 from just 197 balls as Northants posted a huge first innings total of 597 for six having been asked to bat.

And Vasconcelos, who hit 21 fours and two sixes, was delighted to find his touch.

"It was obviously a relief, but, and I know this sounds a bit weird, in the previous games I had felt I was batting okay, I had just been getting out," said the 24-year-old.

"That was one kind of technical fault that got me out every game pretty much, so it was nice to get back in the runs and hopefully it is just the start for the rest of the summer."

The track at Edgbaston was clearly one that suited batting, with a match aggregate of 1,165 runs for just 10 wickets - and five players scoring centuries.

But having had such a difficult start to the season, Vasconcelos was just happy to be back in the groove... although he did claim with a wry smile: "It was nipping around a lot when I was batting..."

The century was Vasconcelos's first since last May, and he is hoping he can now build on it.

"It is amazing how much difference a couple of hours can make as a cricketer," said the South African-born left-hander. "You can feel completely out of nick and then one shot can literally get you back in form.

"It is a really fickle game sometimes, but it was a real confidence booster.

"When you are an opener, the bowlers are fresh, the ball is new, everything is in the bowler's favour from the start.

"And then it gets more and more in the batter's favour, so going out there first, if you have any sort of a doubt, anything creeping on your shoulder telling you whatever, that it is always going to be tough to get out of.

"You need a clear head and full confidence, and sometimes it is easier said than done, but getting a big score early in the season always helps. I have done that in the past, and hadn't managed until now to do it this season. So I am happy to tick that box."