Ankle inury woe for all-rounder Crook ahead of T20 Finals Day

STRUGGLING - Steven Crook has damaged ankle ligaments and is a doubt for Saturday's NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day
STRUGGLING - Steven Crook has damaged ankle ligaments and is a doubt for Saturday's NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day
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All-rounder Steven Crook is facing a race against time to be fit to play for Northants Steelbacks in Saturday’s NatWest T20 Blast semi-final after suffering an ankle injury at the weekend.

The good news for Crook is that scans have confirmed there is no break, but the player will now undergo more tests to assess the extent of damage to his ligaments.

Crook suffered the injury while fielding in the LV= Championship Division Two clash against Leicestershire on Saturday.

Northants head coach David Ripley accepts that it is ‘unlikely’ that Crook will be fit to take on the Birmingham Bears in the first semi of NatWest T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday morning, but he is keen to the give the player every chance to prove his fitness, and isn’t ruling out him possibly turning out just as a batsman.

“Steve had a scan on his ankle on Monday, and there is no break,” said Ripley.

“Ligament damage is feared, so he has had the scan and we will get the results of that and we will know where we are, whether he has a chance, or no chance.

“But until we get that information it is hard to assess what we will be able to do with him, if anything.

“I would say it is unlikely he will be fit, but there is still a chance and we are clinging to that because he is a big player for us in all formats, but especially in T20 cricket where he can run somebody out, he can come in and hit a six to win a game, he can bowl his overs.

“I would imagine he is going to be restricted, certainly bowling and fielding, but he is hitting the ball very well at the moment, and if there is a chance of rolling him out there then we will consider that.”

And Ripley added: “The injury is a cruel blow that we didn’t really want to happen to any of our players before finals day.

“Steve was instrumental in the semi-final win in 2013 with the runs he scored, so he has the experience of the big stage.

“He will be a big miss if he’s not there on Saturday, but it will give somebody else a chance.”