Steelbacks coach Ripley keen to learn from cricket legend Warne
Northants Steelbacks head coach David Ripley is looking forward to learning from ‘one of the greatest cricketers that has ever been’ when he assists Australian legend Shane Warne in The Hundred later this summer.
Ripley will be part of the coaching team at London Spirit when the competition is launched in July, with the Lord’s-based franchise to be led by former leg-spinner Warne, who claimed more than 1,000 wickets in his stellar international career.
Warne was part of the great Australia team that dominated world cricket for several years in the 1990s and early 2000s, taking 708 Test wickets and 293 one day international scalps.
But since his retirement from playing in 2013, the Australian has been happy to take on the role as a TV pundit.
However, Warne, who enjoyed successful player coaching spells in the Indian Premier League before he retired, has been coaxed back to the coal-face of the sport to take charge of the Spirit in the ECB’s controversial new 100-ball format.
The tournament was supposed to be played for the first time last summer, but the Covid-19 pandemic saw it postponed for 12 months.
Thankfully, things seem to be looking pretty positive that it will be okay for the launch in 2021, with hopes high that spectators will be allowed in as well.
As well as Ripley’s role, there are a couple of other Northants connections with the Spirit franchise with big-hitting wicket-keeper batsman Adam Rossington part of the 16-man squad along with Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who has been signed up by the Steelbacks to play in this summer’s Vitality T20 Blast.
Warne is the head coach, and Spirit will also be captained by England’s World Cup winning skipper Eoin Morgan, and Ripley is excited at what lies ahead.
The trio have already been involved in Zoom calls as they plan ahead for the competition, and Ripley said: “It has been really interesting, and Shane Warne and Eoin Morgan are obviously big cricketing personalities.
“At this stage of my career, it has been great having the access to see and speak to those guys, and I will look forward to it in the summer.
“I will have the chance to tune into those blokes and see and hear how they view the cricket world.”
Two-time T20 Blast winner Ripley has been the Northants coach for close on 10 years now, having previously been in charge of the Academy at the County Ground, but the 54-year-old is looking forward to learning some new tricks and fresh ideas from his new colleagues.
“Absolutely I can learn from them, but then I think you can learn from anybody,” he said.
“You can learn from a bloke in the age-group squads if you are chatting and he comes up with a little angle on something.
“I have had a lot of experience with the jobs that I have had, and the variety of coaching jobs I have had, but Shane Warne is one of the greatest cricketers that has ever been, there is no doubt about that.
“He is a large personality and he is coming back (to workas a coach) because he fancies this side of it still. He could easily just sit back and do the broadcasting, but he wants to get a tracksuit on and coach.
“It is going to be really interesting, and it already has been, and I just have to find my niche in that group.
“That has so far tended to be to put a steer on the local players that he doesn’t know too much about.
“Eoin Morgan has been mainly in the southern group over the years, and I have been in the northern group, and our team has obviously won the T20 a couple of times.
“So I think that will be my role, to chip in with things.”
Spirit’s first match in the tournament sees them travel to Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Phoenix on Friday, July 23, before a first home game two days later against Oval Invincibles, who have Steelbacks pace bowler Brandon Glover in their squad.
They then host Trent Rockets on July 29 and are at home again on August 1 against Southern Brave.
August 3 sees Spirit entertain Northern Super Chargers before going to Manchester Originals on August 10 and the Invincibles on August 14. They finish the group stage at Josh Cobb’s Welsh Fire on August 18.