County in the hunt for pace bowler

David RipleyDavid Ripley
David Ripley
Another seam bowler is top of Northamptonshire’s shopping list ahead of the new season.

With just a couple of months left before they begin their summer of action, director of cricket David Ripley has a few concerns about the depth of quick bowling available to him.

It means strengthening that department remains a priority before the LV= County Championship programme gets under way on April 12.

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“We’ve got 12 professionals on the staff for the bulk of the season,” he explained.

“That means we’re a little bit light compared with other seasons and other clubs.

“Ideally we would like to bring in another seam bowler and it’s certainly something we haven’t given up hope of.

“At the moment we have six seamers and they are all quite dynamic cricketers.

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“The likes of David Willey and Steven Crook have had with certain injuries and it means we will need to manage them carefully.

“It is hard to expect them to play every game - especially when you have a one-day game on a Friday and then go straight into a Championship match on the Saturday.

“There are a couple of lads we’re looking at, that we’ve been working with and seen a lot of.

“We might need to be a bit creative (with the budget) to make it happen but I do think it is an area we need to be a bit stronger in.

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“In terms of signings, that is the only thing we have our eye on at this time.”

Ripley also thinks it is unlikely a replacement will be brought in for Shahid Afridi when the Pakistan star departs after the first six NatWest Blast matches - although he does not rule it out.

“We have a strong T20 group at the moment and there has been a lot of hard work by the chairman, chief executive and board to get us where we are,” Ripley added.

“There is no replacement planned for Afridi as yet.

“If we come out of the blocks flying and are playing great cricket we might be keen to bring someone else in.

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“But we are also very aware of the financial situation and that we might not get everything we want.

“I’m happy with the group of players we have for that competition and I would feel uncomfortable just bringing in someone for the sake of it who maybe isn’t worth taking the place of one of the players we’ve already got.”