Pace bowler Jack White closing in on first team return for Northants

Jack White could be back in first team action for Northants for next week's trip to DerbyshireJack White could be back in first team action for Northants for next week's trip to Derbyshire
Jack White could be back in first team action for Northants for next week's trip to Derbyshire
​​Jack White is closing in on a return to action with Northants - and could be in line to start in next week's Vitality County Championship clash at Derbyshire.

The seam bowler has yet to feature for the first team this season after suffering ankle ligament damage on the club's pre-season training camp in South Africa.

White, who was the County's top bowler in red ball cricket in 2023 with 50 wickets, is playing for the second team in their three-day friendly with Loughborough UCCE at Overstone Park CC this week, but iwon't be risked for this Friday's first team date with Gloucestershire.

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A more realistic target is next week's trip to Derby, but head coach John Sadler knows that will be dependent on how the 32-year-old reacts to getting out on the field again.

"This is his first game back and we are building him up slowly," said Sadler.

"Hopefully if he gets through this game unscathed then he will be in the mix for the game against Derbyshire next week, but he has to get through this second team game first.

"He has to get his match sharpness up and get some miles in his legs as he hasn't done a lot for six or eight weeks, and being a fast bowler he has to build up again."

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White bowled four overs on the first day of the Lougborough clash on Wednesday, with the students being bowled out for 293. Northants, who also fielded T20 signing Ravi Bopara, were 46 without loss at the close.

Sadler also revealed that White’s injury was not down to any specific incident, it is a build up of wear and tear on the joint over the years.

"It is a build up over time, over several years, so we are hopeful it will be alright," said Sadler. "He has had plenty of time for it to calm down.

"He has a certain amount of overs to bowl in this game, and then we can build up, but fingers crossed so far, so good, as he has been a big loss for us."

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One player who is back in the frame to face Gloucestershire on Friday is Rob Keogh.

The all-rounder has missed the past two Championship matches, and Sadler explained why.

"Rob had a back spasm, and it is something we are going to have to manage now," said the head coach.

"I think he has had back issues for a little while, but he's not had many problems in the past four or five years.

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"Last year he had a spasm during the T20 that never quite went away, and he has had different kinds of treatment, but we are just going to have to manage him a bit differently now. He is aware of that.

"But he just needed a bit of time to get that right and the signs are good he has recovered, so he is in the mix for Friday against Gloucestershire which is fantastic."

The County go into the Gloucestershire game off the back of a 10-day break, and having drawn all four of their division two matches so far.

Northants are currently fifth, 20 points off leaders Sussex and 14 behind second-placed Middlesex, although they have played one game fewer than the latter.

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Gloucester are currently bottom of the table, 15 points behind the County, having lost one and draw three matches.

As well as Keogh’s return to fitness, Northants will be boosted by the arrival of Indian seam bowler Siddharth Kaul who will replace Chris Tremain, who has returned to Australia after his four-match stint.

Kaul has signed a three-match deal at the County Ground.