Key man Vasconcelos signs new deal at Northants

Ricardo Vasconcelos is staying at Northants
Ricardo Vasconcelos is staying at Northants

Ricardo Vasconcelos has signed a new five-year contract with Northants.

The left-handed opener still had two years remaining on his previous contract but has penned the new deal in its place which cements his spot at the County Ground until the end of the 2024 season.

“It was an easy decision for me to stay here.” said Vasconcelos.

“Northants took a chance on me and picked me out of South Africa, so it was a no brainer for me to be loyal to the club that gave me a chance to live my dream.”

Born in Johannesburg, Vasconcelos first appeared for Northants against Pakistan in 2018 before making his Specsavers County Championship debut against Leicestershire later that year.

He’s since scored over 1,300 runs for the club with three centuries and seven half centuries.

The opening batsman had been instrumental in the promotion push this year and was well on track for a 1,000-run season before injury ended his campaign early.

“I love playing for Northants and I’ve felt like everyone involved with the club has really welcomed me over the last couple of years. We’ve got a really nice bunch of lads and I feel like I’ve settled in well here now," he said.

“The club has shown great ambition this year with some top-class overseas signings so hopefully that ambition pays off and we can get promoted and continue to improve in division one next year."

Head coach David Ripley says the new contract was a vote of confidence for the young opening batsman.

“He’s a real top young cricketer and the kind of guy you want to watch bat, how he gets his runs, he’s very pleasing on the eye," Ripley said.

“The quality of his batsmanship not only this year, but we saw what he was capable of last year and he’s built on that and continued to improve."

Vasconcelos suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the warm-up of Northants' County Championship fixture with Derbyshire in mid-July and underwent surgery shortly after.

It cut short an outstanding first-class season that saw him amass 750 runs at an average of 46.87.

Despite the setback, Vasconcelos is in good spirits and looking to the future.

“The injury is coming along well, I’ve started walking again now so this is where the hard work starts I guess but I’m prepared to put in the work and come back stronger and fitter than ever for what hopefully will be a really good season for us in division one next year," he said.

“I’ve been working hard with our physios and strength and conditioning coaches to get back fit and I’ll be playing some club cricket in South Africa over the winter to make sure I’ve got some cricket under my belt before the start of the new season.”