Sanderson confident Northants' pre-season schedule will ensure bowlers are ready to go
It has been a far from ideal pre-season preparation so far, but Ben Sanderson is confident he and the Northants bowlers will be ready for the start of the 2021 season at the start of next month.
Northants begin their pre-season friendly campaign this Thursday when they travel to the Ageas Bowl for a two-day clash with Hampshire.
It is the first of three two-day games that will make up the practice programme ahead of the opening LV=County Championship clash with Kent on April 8, with the others being an intra-squad game at the County Ground before Leicestershire visit Wantage Road.
The matches will complete what has been a very different pre-season for the County players, who have had to work around the strict restrictions due to Covid-19 regulations.
Since returning in January, the players have been restricted to a couple of days' work a week in the club's indoor school and have had to work in small groups.
There has obviously not been the usual pre-season trip to get outdoor work in, with the players only getting together as one group and venturing on to the grass for the first time last Thursday at Wantage Road.
It's certainly not the pre-season head coach David Ripley would have originally planned, but Sanderson has been pleased with how the club has gone about things, and is confident that he and his fellow bowlers be fit and firing come the serious stuff in a couple of weeks' time.
"I think we will be alright," said the pace bowler.
"The coaches will monitor the overs that you bowl, and you have to be a bit mindful that there are 10 Championship matches in a row to start off with, really.
"We will start to get an idea in that last friendly as to who is going to be playing against Kent, and those that are will perhaps be given a few more overs, but I think there is plenty of time.
"It is more about getting the overs into your legs and then standing in a field for a day, that is the hardest bit!"
Northants pre-season friendlies
March 25 & 26: Hampshire v Northants, Ageas Bowl
March 29 & 30: Northants v Northants - intrasquad game, The County Ground
April 4 & 5: Northants v Leicestershire, The County Ground