Northants coach Ripley confident Vasconcelos can cope with triple role against Yorkshire
David Ripley is backing Ricardo Vasconcelos to handle the pressure and rigours of his new triple role in Thursday's LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Yorkshire at Headingley (start 11am).
Skipper Adam Rossington misses the trip to Headingley after suffering an injured finger, and that has led to a lot more responsibility falling on Vasconcelos's young shoulders.
That's because the 23-year-old will not only continue to open the batting, but will also keep wicket and captain the side as well.
The South African has enjoyed a stunning start to the campaign with the bat, rattling up 397 runs in five innings at an average of 99.25.
His 185 not out was the backbone of last weekend's incredible run-chase win over Glamorgan, with Vasconcelos and Rob Keogh (126) steering the team to winning target of 350-plus in just 72 overs.
Ripley accepts that taking on the keeping and captaincy in a four-day match will be 'a big load' for Vasconcelos to deal with, but he believes he will take it in his stride.
"Ricardo will keep wicket," confirmed the head coach.
"It has been one of the talks we have had that if Adam were to get injured, what would happen with Ricardo.
"We have got a guy who has just banged out two big 100s, and we don't want to lose that resource as an opening batter.
"I guess the worst case scenario is that we have now got two games (although Ripley is hopeful Rossington will be fit for next week's match with Sussex), but I think Ricardo is happy to put his hand up for the whole lot.
"It is a big load, he is captain, he is opening the batting and also wicket-keeping, but he is up for it and I think that is half the battle.
"We may have to review it and see if it it impinges on his batting, or his wicket-keeping, but at the moment that is our plan, for him to go and do it at Yorkshire and then we'll see what happens in the next game."
Vasconcelos has captained Northants before, leading the team to their only Bob Willis Trophy win last summer when Rossington was also injured.
Rossington this time misses the trip to Leeds after damaging finger ligaments while keeping in the win over Glamorgan, but the club are hopeful it will be a short-term absence.
“Adam had an x-ray to exclude a fracture and that came back clear which is good news,” Northants' head physio Barry Goudriaan told nccc.co.uk
“However, the nature of the injury means that after a consultation with our upper limb specialist, Alistair Jepson at BMI Three Shires, we advised Adam sits out this game to get it right."
The squad travelled north on Wednesday morning, but Rossington will stay in Northampton for rehabilitation work with strength and conditioning coach Chris Lorkin as well as assistant physio Sophie Slope.
“It’s always a tough call to make," said Goudriaan.
"But we advised him that if he was to play with this kind of this type of finger joint ligament injury he could aggravate it to the extent he’d miss considerably longer than just one game.”