Northamptonshire coach Ripley impressed by young Zaib’s approach

David Ripley was impressed by the contribution of young Saif Zaib
David Ripley was impressed by the contribution of young Saif Zaib

Saif Zaib made quite an impression on his first appearance in Northamptonshire’s first-team.

The 15-year-old, who has experience of just two Second XI games behind him, produced two good innings in the three-day match against Durham MCCU which ended in a 159-run win for Northamptonshire today.

He followed up a tidy 19 in the first innings with 54 not out in the County’s second knock - a performance that came at a time when his senior colleagues were struggling against the students.

It was an impressive effort from the teenager who attends the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe - whose alumni include former Northampton Saints stars Nick Beal and Matt Dawson as well as ex-England cricketer Phil Newport - and represented the town’s cricket club in the Home Counties Premier League last season.

It was certainly one that earned the approval of Northamptonshire’s head coach David Ripley.

“He’s an Academy player who comes from Buckinghamshire,” Ripley explained about a schoolboy of whom many County supporters would have been thus far unaware.

“Phil Rowe has been instrumental in getting to the club and signing for the Academy.

“He’s a left-handed batsman who can attack - he likes to give it a hit - and who has also bowled a bit of left-arm spin in Second XI cricket.

“We are hopeful he will develop as an all-rounder.

“It was very pleasing to see how he went about things. He played very well.

“We hadn’t batted well collectively in that second innings and he stepped up and looked the standard.

“It’s all well and good having the ‘exciting’ tag which a lot of youngsters get but he applied himself well.

“He was very mature in his approach and was not in too much trouble on his way making 50.”