Wakely urges Northants to unite in bid to turn form around
Skipper Alex Wakely knows his side's batsmen must stand up to be counted if Northants are to get their season back on track.
Wakely and Co travel to Durham for a Specsavers County Championship Division Two fixture, which begins on Friday.
Northants endured a poor May, enduring their worst set of results in Royal London One-Day Cup since the competition was created and last week being comfortably beaten by Worcestershire as the Championship returned.
The month has eroded the feel-good factor of the first few weeks of the season and now Northants need to produce some better performances to keep pace with the promotion places.
And Wakely believes batting improvement holds the key to a return to form.
“We haven’t scored a hundred yet in the Championship and the batting statistics are pretty poor - you’re not going to win games of cricket like that," the captain said.
"‘Caught other’ has been a recurring theme for us and we know we’ve got some expressive players but the best sides don’t do that – they make their wicket hard to get and we’re making the same mistakes time and again so we’ve got to find a way out of that.
“We’ve got four Championship games now before the Twenty20 starts and we want to put ourselves in a place when the T20 stuff is finished where we’re still competing in the division so the next four games are crucial to our season and we’ve got to turn things around pretty quickly if we want to still be in this promotion race.
“Over the last five years when we have had low points we’ve been good at turning things around quite quickly.
"All you need is one good day and the momentum can run with you but we know we need one of those days sooner rather than later.”
Northants return to the scene of one of their darkest hours this week.
Chester-le-Street saw the nadir of their annus horribilis in 2014: Chris Rushworth took 15 wickets as Northants were bundled out twice in just over 40 overs on the same afternoon.
“I’ve heard all about it,” said Wakely, who wasn’t there in 2014. “No-one wants to revisit those memories.
"Durham are a totally different side now – and so are Northants.
"We’ve got so much talent in this dressing room; just no one is finding their form.
"It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, if we can discover that form of last season, we’ll be fine.”
Northants are without Ben Duckett, who is with the England Lions squad for the series against South Africa A.
Richard Levi is also sitting out the mandatory period of rest after being diagnosed with a mild concussion after being struck on the head against Worcestershire.
“We’re used to dealing with adversity at Northants and this is where we bang on about how close we are as a squad and this is where it really gets tested," Wakely said.
"When things are against you and there are niggles that’s when you need to come together and someone has to put their hand up to play that match-winning innings.”