VIEW FROM THE BLUES: Captaincy is proving unwanted distraction for Peters

UNDER PRESSURE - Northants captain Stephen Peters
UNDER PRESSURE - Northants captain Stephen Peters
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Okay, it’s not funny anymore. It’s time for Stephen Peters to consider surrendering the captaincy, or at least taking a break.

The big thumpings are clearly affecting the captain’s batting form, and he is a worse player for it.

He scored a useful 300 runs in his first 10 first-class innings, but half of that in his next 10 knocks.

Will it be just 80 runs in the next 10 innings?

Maybe Peters would contribute more to the team if the pressure on him was lifted.

His form had dipped over the past two years anyway and maybe there will be no new contract coming down the line if he doesn’t fix that somehow.

I can see David Smith throwing the baby out with the bathwater here to trim that wage bill further in the off-season.

Peters was great last year as leader, but top quality seam bowling is demolishing his average and exposing the rest of the guys to the new ball, as we saw this week at Hove, Northants slumping to nought for three and then 34 for six.

Peters has been a good batsman for us, but this is not working any more.

We all want Peters and the likes of James Middlebrook here next year and doing what they do best, but chief exec Smith should have bought in an experienced opener to complement Peters, and so move Middlebrook back to the middle order where he belongs, securing those bonus points and stemming those collapses.

The batting is seriously unbalanced right now, and they have to take the bulk of the blame for this season.

The bowling is what it is, and if new man Maurice Chambers didn’t take five-fors after Jackson Bird’s no show, these thrashings were always on the cards.

The batsmen are the only ones who can rescue this season now.

It’s annoying as I thought Northants had found a new gear last week with the battling draw at Lord’s and cracking home NatWest T20 Blast win over Birmingham Bears.

But being skittled at Leicester for 82 on that shocking T20 green pitch washout on Friday, followed by the Sussex collapse, suggest they clearly haven’t. Admittedly, the Hove pitch wasn’t designed to last four days, but Northants had little chance on it anyway, especially after Peters put Sussex in on it.

The home side Sussex compiled the now perfunctory 400 on what looked liked a block paving pitch, Luke Wright (158) with the century (Northants averaging one century conceded every match now).

It’s now seven times in a row in first-class matches that the bowlers have conceded 400 plus, some sort of record I’m sure.

This is 1921 stuff.

The batting response was appalling, managing just 116 all out, Magoffin the class act with five for 12 from 11 overs with four maidens.

The Aussie seamer was unplayable and he is the best in the division right now, as shown by the fact he is the first to 50 first-class wickets.

The follow-on was more of the same with the game done and dusted by lunch on day three, Northants mustering just 205 all out.

This was Northants’ eighth championship defeat this season, and the sixth by an innings.

We simply don’t have a competitive team and no sign of one on our budget.

Hopefully we will squeeze a win Friday night between the chunky showers against Derbyshire in the Blast, with the correct team selected.

But with Ian Butler back home in New Zealand apparently injured, you do wonder if fellow Kiwi Neil Wagner will show up for the rest of the season now he can’t influence it.

Playing David Sales in the Blast was bonkers (hence the injury), and now is the time to forget those who won’t be here next year and get the young lads in.

That said, I would still play Andrew Hall in the Blast though, as he still has the brain for the format, and I would also throw Peters into the slog to give him some confidence middling the ball in front of a big crowd.