Steelbacks star Levi to miss Friends Life t20 quarter-final

GOING HOME - Steelbacks batsman Richard Levi is returning to South Africa
GOING HOME - Steelbacks batsman Richard Levi is returning to South Africa

Northamptonshire will be without Richard Levi for their Friends Life t20 last eight tie after he received a call-up for South Africa A.

The opener, who has been an integral part of the Steelbacks’ successful campaign, has been named in the squad for the one-day triangular event with the A teams from Australia and India in Pretoria which gets under way early next week.

As a result, he will be unavailable for the club’s home knockout tie which wil be played on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday but he could return for finals day on August 17 should they make it that far.

Head coach David Ripley said: “We knew that there was risk when we signed Richard.

“It’s a bit unfortunate from our point of view but this has to take precedence for him.

“It’s definitely a blow becuase he’s a matchwinner with the bat, but more than one or two people have had to perform for us to get this far so it isn’t something that we can’t handle.”

It isn’t cut and dried that a return would be on the cards should next week’s game be successfully negotiated, and Ripley stated that is a bridge to be crossed should the situation arise.

He continued: “We’d probably need to find some finance to make that happen but we’d hope to make it work.

“With the time difference being only a couple of hours he could quite easily get here on a Wednesday or Thursday and play on a Saturday so we’d have to look at it.

“He’s enjoyed his time here and been great among the lads and we’d like to have him back.”