Steelbacks return to action as Northants take on Bears in T20 friendlies
Northants may not have a Championship match to play, but this is not going to be a week as the players turn their attentions to the white ball season that is now just around the corner.
The Steelbacks begin their Vitality T20 Blast campaign in under a month when they host Worcestershire Rapids at the County Ground on Friday, June 11.
The fact the team will be playing and concentrating on four-day cricket until Sunday, June 6, doesn’t leave a lot of preparation time.
So that being the case, the club has this week opted to practice with the white ball, in readiness for the Blast.
Today (Thursday) sees the squad undergo a full training session in the morning before playing an inter-squad T20 match at Wantage Road in the afternoon.
Then, on Friday, the team heads off to Edgbaston on for a friendly double-header against Warwickshire Bears, playing a match in the morning and again in the afternoon.
“We will be playing our strongest team in the Championship, so that means the players who do well in both formats won’t have had a lot of opportunity to practice with a white ball,” said Ripley.
“So it will be good to bank this practice this week, although it is difficult to say selections are at stake because we haven’t had a white ball in our hand for pretty much the whole season.
“That means it is difficult to be too judgmental on players, however, if you get somebody who goes out and bangs an 80 in quick time, or bowls brilliantly at the end of an innings, you are not going to ignore that.
“It’s not going to define anything, but it is going to be a nudger.
“You only have to look at last season when Sai Zaib had a really good couple of days when he did this, and really caught the eye.”
The Steelbacks will be hoping they can better last season's Blast performance when they were beaten in the quarter-finals by Gloucestershire at Bristol.