Ripley gives the lowdown on Northants' new signings

Blessing Muzarabani
Blessing Muzarabani

Northants have certainly managed to raise some eyebrows with their signings ahead of the new season.

Jason Holder, Temba Bavuma and Faheem Ashraf are all set to strut their stuff in Northampton at various stages of the year.

Jason Holder

Jason Holder

And Zimbabwe bowler Blessing Muzarabani has arrived on a three-year Kolpak deal.

Here, head coach David Ripley gives us the lowdown on his new recruits...

JASON HOLDER (signed for first two County Championship Division Two games and opening six Royal London One-Day Cup matches)

He's a genuine all-round cricketer who bats, bowls and fields at slip in red-ball cricket.

Faheem Ashraf

Faheem Ashraf

He's an all-rounder in white-ball cricket with the ability to hit the ball a good distance as well.

In terms of cricket skills, he's got all that covered and he has this reputation as a very good leader.

To get in the West Indies side is no easy task and he's universally respected.

He isn't leading our side but you can never have too many of those kind of guys in the dressing room.

Temba Bavuma

Temba Bavuma

He has all bases covered and although we haven't got him here for long, we've got him for two Championship matches and six 50-over games so it's a good start to our season.

TEMBA BAVUMA (signed for eight County Championship matches between May 14 and 17 July 17)

We had a bit of a strategy to prioritise white-ball cricket as we went into the winter and this guy is very good value for money.

He really wants an opportunity to play county cricket and we feel we need someone who will be a gutsy, dig-in cricketer who can build partnerships with players around him. Maybe that's the kind of player we haven't had enough in our side.

Ben Curran

Ben Curran

It's something he's still doing in Test match cricket and hopefully he can come over and do it for us, to help us secure more batting points and give targets for our bowlers to bowl at.

Once we got one or two things going we had a little bit of budget to look into something for the Championship and we felt he would be a really good acquisition.

It's been good to see him still playing some important innings for South Africa.

FAHEEM ASHRAF (signed for the entire Vitality Blast T20 campaign)

I caught a bit of him playing in Pakistan's Test match series and ODI series and I got a very strong recommendation from someone I know who is involved in the Pakistan Super League.

He's got good white-ball skills and Micky Arthur, the coach, has reinforced what good white-ball skills he has and we do need to add a little bit of white-ball ability.

Ben Cotton did not make the cut at Northants

Ben Cotton did not make the cut at Northants

In our T20 campaign last year we were a little bit short with the ball on occasions and Faheem is a guy who has got good white-ball skills and is playing internationally.

We feel having him around the group is going to be great for us.

He can come in and whack it out of the park and he's often used by Pakistan to hit some boundaries.

He looks a good fit for us and he's available for the whole competition.

It is important that we could start our 14 T20 games with the same team and finish with the same team. We'd need quite a bit of luck for that but it is possible with the guys we've signed.

BLESSING MUZARABANI (signed on a three-year Kolpak contract)

He's still a young fella and I wouldn't expect him to play all the cricket as a young guy developing his physical strength.

We're going to pace him and use him how we feel we can get the best out of him.

He's been here in the winter and he has impressed, bowling well in the indoor school, and we're looking forward to seeing him transfer that into the season.

He's made an encouraging start.

THE OTHERS

Ben Curran obviously played some cricket for us last year.

We did also have Ben Cotton, who had a contract that was linked to some fitness targets, but unfortunately he hasn't managed to reach those targets.

Ben won't be with us in the short term, which is unfortunate because he was adding some depth to our bowling and is a skilful cricketer.

But we made a commitment as a group that we were going to improve our fitness and work harder in certain areas, and unfortunately for Ben, he hasn't managed to reap the rewards of his hard work.

It's an unfortunate one.