County running the rule over Paul van Meekeren as possible bowling cover for Championship

Former Somerset seamer Paul van Meekeren has been training and playing with Northants and is being considered as a 'possible option' for a signing as bowling cover.

By Jeremy Casey
Sunday, 4th April 2021, 7:04 am
Paul van Meekeren in action for Somerset in 2019
Paul van Meekeren in action for Somerset in 2019

The Amsterdam-born Holland international is a free agent after leaving Taunton at the end of the 2019 season, and was invited to join the County in pre-season by bowling coach Chris Liddle, who is also part of the Netherlands international set-up.

Van Meekeren played and impressed in the inter-squad match staged at the County Ground on Monday and Tuesday, as he was part of the bowling team on both days.

And with Northants already suffering injury concerns with three seam bowlers in Luke Procter, Jack White and van Meekeren's Holland team-mate Brandon Glover, the 28-year-old is very much in David Ripley's thoughts as a potential cover signing.

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Northants face a heavy schedule at the start of the season, as they play eight LV= Insurance County Championship matches in the space of the first nine weeks, starting with Thursday's home date with Kent.

The head coach said: "We have had our academy guys contributing and they are on the development road, but if we were hit by injuries in the first month of the season, are those guys ready to come in and play a major role with the ball?

"We would have to assess that, but if we decide they are not quite ready to step in and do that role in the first team, what would we do?

"I am very excited about them, and them going and getting some second team opportunities, which will be played over four days now, but in the first month of the season will they be quite ready?

"So we need to have some plan Bs, and Paul is kind of in those plans.

"He is a more experienced player, and if we had a rush of injuries then we need to think about who we could call on.

"We also need to think about the loan market, but that is not going to be easy to tell until teams select their players for the first games.

"Even then, because the schedule is so heavy, are counties going to let bowlers go too far?

"They would certainly have to be quite a long way from their first team for them to be allowed to go out.

"Most counties have got eight matches in nine weeks and they are going to need their bowling resources, so I think the loan market could be tricky for seamers, although there would be plenty of options for batters.

"So Paul is somebody we are having a look at, and he had a really good couple of days in the inter-squad game.

"He is an enthusiastic lad who gave a lot over the two days, and his stats say that is what he does, so he didn't do himself any harm.

"He has only been with us for four days through the pre-season, but he only lives in Chesterfield so he has been coming in and joining in, mainly through his contact with Chris, but he has been a good addition and is a possible option for us."

Van Meekeren has been without a club since he left Somerset, but was part of the Netherlands team that qualified for the T20 World Cup.

He played a starring role with the ball alongside Northants pace man Glover, and is set to play in the tournament when it is staged in India at the end of this year.

He has only played in eight first-class matches as his red ball opportunities were limited during his time at Taunton, but he has taken 21 wickets at 37 apiece with best bowling figures of four for 60.