Northants boss Ripley tips Gleeson for England

Richard Gleeson has been in fine form for Northants this season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Richard Gleeson has been in fine form for Northants this season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Richard Gleeson should be in contention for a call-up to England’s T20 side later this summer, according to Northants head coach David Ripley.

Gleeson has again provided a series of outstanding spells in helping the Steelbacks to the brink of another NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final.

And Ripley feels his performances should be rewarded with inclusion in England’s squad for the one-off T20 against West Indies at Durham on September 16.

“I’ll be pushing for him to be in consideration,” said Ripley, whose side host Leicestershire Foxes in the Blast on Friday night (start time 6.30pm).

“At the moment no-one is doing as good as job as he is bowling in the powerplay.

“People are coming hard - no-one is gong through the old-school of keeping wickets in hand, all bets are off in that first six and Richard has been sensational.”

Gleeson took 16 wickets at just 16 runs each in Northants’ successful 2016 T20 campaign - being cruelly ruled out of finals day through injury - and this year has 10 scalps at 19.20.

Armed with exceptional pace, the ability to move the ball and send in spearing yorkers, Gleeson has again provided Ripley’s side with penetration in the powerplay that has helped them arrive at the final three matches of the group stage with another knock-out match in their grasp.

But Ripley feels Gleeson’s ability extends beyond T20, as his maiden first-class five-wicket haul against Gloucestershire earlier this week demonstrated.

“When I first saw Richard bowl, it was with the red ball and he didn’t get his rewards in the games he played early in his career with us,” said Ripley.

“It was the white-ball stuff that took us by surprise and how that really took off and where he stands now.

“His injuries have prevented us from really seeing what he can do with the red ball but we’ve known it’s been there from when he burst onto the scene.

“So to have him fit and firing towards the end of the season is going to be massive for us.”

Northants lie third in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship with five games to play.

They are 15 points behind Worcestershire in second with a game in hand.

But their T20 form has also been excellent, despite injuries to key players.

“It’s been a bit deja vu missing players as we did last year,” said Ripley.

“Seekkuge Prasanna went away with Sri Lanka last year, we didn’t replace him and we had injuries on finals day, too.

“And this year we’ve had some bad luck again - Prasanna hasn’t been around at all and we’ve had injuries to Richard Levi, Josh Cobb, Graeme White and Muhammad Azharullah - all really key white-ball cricketers for us.

“People have come in and stepped up and qualification is now in our own hands.”