Batsman Keogh relishing competition for places at Northamptonshire

Rob Keogh says he is determined to thrive amidst the strong competition for places at Northamptonshire this summer.

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 4th March 2022, 12:41 pm
Updated Friday, 4th March 2022, 12:42 pm

The County are preparing for their first season in top flight English cricket since 2014, and new head coach John Sadler has a big squad at his disposal.

The overseas signings of New Zealand Test batsman Will Young and Western Australia fast bowler Matt Kelly will ensure that he won't be short of options for the opening two months of the campaign.

Keogh is one of a batch of batters who will be staking their claim for a place in the starting line-up, with things hotting up this weekend when the first team squad jets off to South Africa for a 10-day training camp.

Northants batsman Rob Keogh

Young and Keogh will be competing with the likes of Ricardo Vasconcelos, Ben Curran, Emilio Gay, Luke Procter, Charlie Thurston and Saif Zaib for a place in that top six for the season opener against Gloucestershire.

And Keogh, who turned 30 in October is relishing that challenge.

"It is always good to have a competitive squad, and competition for places," said the Bedford-born batsman.

"It means you get pushed that little bit harder and are always sort of looking over your shoulder.

New Zealand Test batsman Will Young has signed for Northants for the 2022 season

"There may be guys in the second team scoring runs who are ready to come into the first team if you are not performing.

"So it is a good thing for the coach to have plenty of options, and also a good thing for the players, just to push them that little bit harder."

Keogh will fly off to South Africa on Sunday, only a a little over a week after having returned from the country where he, Zaib and Procter enjoyed a five-week training stint in Western Province.

The original plan had been for Northants to be heading off to Singapore for their pre-season trip, but ongoing issues regarding that country's Covid-19 regulations meant things were switched.

The team will now be based at the High Performance Institute of Sport in Potchefstroom, which is in the North West province and is approximately 120km south west of Johannesburg.

And Keogh can't wait to get away and get down to business and staking his claim for that first team starting slot.

"It is always good for team bonding, to get everybody together for 10 days," he said.

"It is good for the young lads to come in and be around the more senior guys, and the training is always good.

"It's our first time to Poch so we will see what it's like, but generally the training is always good on the pre-season tours.

"Everybody gets stuck into it and there is the fact there is the competition for places for that first game, so I am looking forward to it."

And although he was only in South Africa a matter of days ago, he is happy to go back and get some more sun on his back.

"We were lucky enough to get out there and train at Newlands for five weeks," said Keogh. "It was a really good trip.

"Playing on grass wickets makes a massive difference, as there is only so much batting indoors on hard rubber (in the indoor cricket centre) that you can do.

"It is nice to get outside, train outside and play on grass."