Ben Duckett has been let off the leash - and he’s loving it.
The batsman has been in brilliant form with the bat of late, starring in the County Championship and the T20 Blast.
Duckett has been relishing the added importance placed on his role, having been moved up the order in both forms of the game.
He has opened the batting in the Championship to great effect and stepped up to three in the NatWest T20 Blast.
And with messages of encouragement ringing in his ears, the talented 20-year-old has been running riot.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Duckett said.
“They’ve told me to play with freedom in the T20 competition and if I come in during the powerplay then I can back myself and go through with it.”
And in the Championship...
“I got moved up to opening the batting and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go,” he said.
“I’ve come up against the new ball and just tried to be as positive as I can.
“So far it’s been going okay.”
Okay is an understatement as Duckett has delivered in recent four-day matches at Lancashire and Gloucestershire.
At Lancashire, who lead the second division, he blasted a brilliant 134 from 151 balls in the first innings before following it up with 88 from 109 deliveries in the second.
And those Championship heroics have been supplemented in the Blast, where Duckett has been hugely influential in a run of six wins in eight games.
“I feel last year I didn’t back myself and I’d get caught but this year I’m going through with it and it’s worked well so far,” said Duckett, who hit an unbeaten 24 in the nine-wicket win against Leicestershire Foxes last Sunday. “It’s paying off.”
And all this after Duckett missed Northants’ pre-season tour of the Caribbean after failing to reach the required fitness levels.
“I did miss out on the tour which was a bit of a shame, but I felt in good nick,” he said.
“I was away in Australia all winter and I felt in good shape with the bat.
“It’s just a thing where when you get your chance you’ve got to take it.”