All-rounder Neesham set for Steelbacks debut as Foxes come to town

Steelbacks supporters are set to get their first look at exciting new overseas signing Jimmy Neesham at the County Ground on Wednesday night.

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 2:00 pm
Jimmy Neesham will make his debut for the Steelbacks against Leicestershire Foxes on Wednesday night
Jimmy Neesham will make his debut for the Steelbacks against Leicestershire Foxes on Wednesday night

The New Zealand all-rounder arrived in the United Kingdom on Monday following his stint in the IPL with Rajasthan Royals, and is set to make his Northants debut in the Vitality Blast clash with Leicestershire Foxes (start 6.30pm).

The 31-year-old has endured a frustrating time in India, playing in just two matches in the entire tournament despite Royals reaching Sunday’s final, with the most recent being back on May 15.

There is little doubt that he will play for the Steelbacks though, and head coach John Sadler is certainly delighted to have the proven white-ball cricket star joining up with the squad for the final 11 North Group matches.

"Jimmy is in the country, which is good," said Sadler.

"He touched down on Monday, and we did pose the question as to whether or not he fancied a game that night, but it was a bit soon for him!

"He will be with us on Wednesday and hopefully he is fit and firing and ready to go.

"He has had a bit of a time out in India where he has not played as much cricket as he might have wanted to, so I know he is raring to go and looking forward to getting stuck in for us."

Neesham has an impressive T20 record.

He has played in 184 matches, scoring 2,407 runs at a strike-rate of 136.6 and also claiming 158 wickets at 25.59 apiece and at a strike-rate of a wicket every 17 balls.

For New Zealand he has played in 39 T20 internationals, averaging 22 with the bat at a strike-rate of 151.82 and claiming 21 wickets at 27.90 apiece and a strike-rate of 18.1.

Playing in the Blast is not new to Neesham, who has previously played in the competition for Essex, Kent and Derbyshire, and he was also a team-mate of Steelbacks skipper Josh Cobb for the Welsh Fire in last summer's Hundred competition.

Against Leicestershire, Neesham will replace Matt Kelly in the Steelbacks team that started Monday's rained off clash at Notts Outlaws.

The match will be played on the eve of the double Bank Holiday to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, and Sadler admits he would love to see another big crowd at Wantage Road.

"The crowd were brilliant for us on Friday, it really helped us," said the head coach.

"So the more the merrier that can be there on Wednesday night would be great."