Northants bowler Gleeson keen for 'crazy few years' to continue

Richard Gleeson has become a key player for Northants (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Richard Gleeson has become a key player for Northants (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Richard Gleeson is hoping his 'crazy few years' continue as the Northants pace ace bids to maintain his remarkable rise to prominence.

Gleeson has come a long way since playing for Blackpool and handing out pamphlets at Old Trafford while working for the Lancashire Cricket Board.

The 30-year-old signed a three-year deal at Northants from the start of the 2017 season after impressing on a part-time basis during the previous couple of years.

He made his first-class debut for Northants against Australia in August 2015 and became a key man in the T20 campaign a year later, when the County claimed glory.

Gleeson wasn't able to play a part at finals day due to injury, but he had more than done his bit in getting Northants to the showpiece occasion.

And he has continued to rack up the big performances, claiming 40 wickets in the final seven Championship matches and earning a late call-up for the England Lions’ tour of the Caribbean, the North-South series that followed and the MCC Champion County match.

Gleeson made his Lions debut in the third unofficial Test against West Indies A, taking two wickets, and claimed seven wickets in seven matches across the unofficial one-day international series before helping the North beat the South 2-1.

But his standout moment of the winter was to come for MCC against the champion county, Essex.

Eight wickets and a hat-trick capped off a productive month, where Gleeson's name would surely have been added to a list of potential new senior England caps this summer.

And Gleeson admits his recent heroics are hard for him and everyone else to believe.

“I still get back to Blackpool and I don’t think they can believe it either," he said.

"It’s been a crazy few years and hopefully it carries on.

"It’s not sunk in, the steps I’ve taken in such a short amount of time, and if you’d have told me three years ago all this would have happened, I never would have believed you.”

On the possibility of an England call-up, he said: "I’ve put myself in a good position with how I bowled in the Caribbean.

“If it happens, it happens. It’s not something I’m specifically aiming for - I just want to take wickets for Northants and if anything else happens, I’ll try my hardest. But fingers crossed.”

Gleeson's next task is to try to help Northants bounce back from last week's 160-run defeat to Middlesex in the County Championship Division Two curtain raiser at Lord's.

Northants will host Warwickshire in their next fixture, which starts at the County Ground on Friday.