Bowling trio are doubts for Northants' season opener against Kent
Northants look set to be without at least three key members of their bowling attack for next week's LV= Insurance County Championship opener against Kent due to injuries.
And the season opener could also come too soon for overseas signing Wayne Parnell, who is currently still in quarantine following his arrival in the UK from South Africa.
All-rounder Luke Procter and seamers Brandon Glover and Jack White were all also missing as Northants played out an inter-squad match at the County Ground on Monday and Tuesday.
Procter has a side strain, while Glover and White are nursing sore shoulders, and the trio are unlikely to be involved in this weekend’s two-day friendly with Leicestershire that starts on Sunday, meaning their selection for Thursday’s Kent opener is in doubt.
It’s not ideal news for head coach David Ripley but he is hopeful the injuries are not going to be long term, and is confident the club has enough cover in the bowling department to cover their absence.
Procter’s problem is the most serious of the three, but Ripley said: “The injuries aren’t too major.
“Luke couldn’t bowl this week and hasn’t fully contributed since we have been practicing outdoors, as he picked up his injury indoors in our final session at Loughborough.
“I don’t think the injury is over-serious, but it’s difficult to see him being able to be fit for the first game, and I would imagine all three of them are up against the clock to play against Kent.
“Touch wood it is nothing to serious to affect what is going to have to be some rotation and some rest in what is a very heavy schedule at the start of the year with all of those Championship matches more or less back to back.
"Hopefully they will be ready soon.”
All-rounder Parnell is now in Northampton having arrived from his native South Africa, and the head coach says it going to be a case of assessing whether the former Worcestershire man is ready to step straight in and play.
Ripley said: “Wayne is in isolation at the moment, but we are hoping he will be around at the weekend.
“Whether he plays against Leicester or not, we will have to see how he is.
“He has been playing in some global competitions, and has been training in SA as well and he is committed to playing red ball cricket for us.
“But our lads have been on a pathway from the first week of January to hopefully be able to bowl 20 overs in an innings and 35 overs a game, and it is not easy to prepare for that, so we will see where he is.
“The last thing we want do is rush him in as we have him for the whole season and he is a three-format player for us.”
Northants host Leicestershire behind closed doors at the County Ground on Sunday and Monday, and they go into that match off the back of two competitive days’ in-house cricket when, thankfully, the sun shone on Wantage Road.
All fit and available first team players took part, along with some academy players such as Gus Miller, James Sales, Amrit Basra and James Cronie, and Ripley was delighted with what he saw.
“The first day the bat was on top, Ben Curran got a hundred, Ricardo Vasconcelos got 60 and Alex Wakely a 90, so it was quite a strong batting day,” said the head coach.
“On the second day Gareth Berg got five wickets and bowled very well, and I don’t think we had any 50s, so it was a slightly different tale.
“Some of the lads who didn’t get so may went back in, and it was a good couple of days with some good cricket played.”