Curran and Parnell drop out as top-two chasers Northants head to Kent
Ben Curran has been dropped for Northants’ crucial LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Kent that starts on Thursday.
The opening batsman is set to be replaced in the County line-up by fellow youngster Emilio Gay, having struggled for any sort of form in the opening seven matches of the campaign.
There will also be at least one more change from the Northants team, that won at Sussex last weekend as all-rounder Wayne Parnell is also missing.
The South African has been switched to the seconds team to play a series of T20 cricket matches in readiness for the start of the Vitality T20 Blast next Friday, and that means a return to the squad for seam bowling pair Nathan Buck and Jack White.
Buck hasn’t played since the win over Glamorgan at the end of April, and White has yet to feature for the first team this summer.
Brandon Glover is unavailable as he is currently playing a ODI series for the Netherlands against Ireland.
Opener Curran has so far managed a very modest 148 runs from 10 innings, with a top score of 36, and although Ripley believes the player ‘is not a million miles away’ from producing the goods, he feels he has to give somebody else a chance.
And the beneficiary of that looks like being Gay, who hasn’t featured for the first team since the defeat against Lancashire at Old Trafford in April.
“At the start of the season, I thought Ben looked in really good form,” said Ripley.
“He was moving well into the ball, he got a lot of starts, but then didn’t quite go on.
“He had got runs in pre-season and he was playing pretty well, and I don’t think he is a million miles away.
“But obviously the longer it goes on when you haven’t scored any runs, it can creep in and affect you a little bit.
“We spoke at Sussex and Ben is very honest, he knows he has had a good run in the side and he hasn’t quite delivered what he would have hoped, and what we hoped.
“Emilio is averaging 80 in the second team, and there are one or two others that are banging out quite a lot of runs for the seconds as well, and they are banging on the door.
“Unfortunately, that puts pressure on the lads who are not performing at the level they would like.
“It is just part of the game, but I would rather give a guy one more game than a game too less, but I think Ben has had a fair run.
“I do think he will now go back and score runs again in the second team, and he will then be banging on the door wanting to get back in again.”
The County go into the game in third place in the Championship Group 3 table, just two points adrift of second-placed Yorkshire, while Kent are bottom having failed to win any of their seven matches this season.
The south east side are missing Zak Crawley who is in the England team taking on New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's, and are also without skipper Sam Billings who was called into the England squad as cover earlier this week, and will remain with Joe Root's men
Kent do welcome back another England batsman Joe Denly, who has missed their past two matches after taking some time away from cricket.
The two sides met at Wantage Road in the first match of the season in early April, with the clash ending in a high-scoring draw.
Northants squad v Kent: Adam Rossington (c/wk), Gareth Berg, Nathan Buck, Emilio Gay, Rob Keogh, Simon Kerrigan, Luke Procter, Ben Sanderson Tom Taylor, Charlie Thurston, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Jack White, Saif Zaib
Kent squad v Northants: Daniel Bell-Drummond (c), Jordan Cox, Miguel Cummins, Joe Denly, Nathan Gilchrist, Jack Leaning, Tawanda Muyeye, Marcus O'Riordan. Matt Quinn. Ollie Robinson, Darren Stevens