INTERVIEW: Pace ace Glover already feels right at home at the County Ground

Brandon Glover admits that signing for Northants ‘wasn’t an easy decision’, but believes he has joined a club that gives him ‘a great chance to grow’.

Brandon Glover pictured during last week's inter-club T20 match at the County Ground
Brandon Glover pictured during last week's inter-club T20 match at the County Ground

The exciting fast bowler was on the radar of a few clubs in the winter, having inspired the Netherlands to qualification for the T20 World Cup.

The South African-born pace ace was the leading wicket taker in T20 internationals in 2019, claiming 28 dismissals.

He was also the leading wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup qualifying tournament with 16 victims, and named man-of-the-match following the Netherlands’ win in the final over Papua New Guinea in Dubai.

The 23-year-old was keen to move to England to further his career, and thanks his efforts for the Dutch was a man in demand, but in the end he settled on a move to Northampton and the County Ground.

Clear factors in that decision were that his best friend since childhood, Ricardo Vasconcelos was also at the club, as was the Netherlands bowling coach Chris Liddle.

But Glover also points to the fact that he feels Northants is a club on the up as a major influence on his decision, and is somewhere he will be able to develop his talent.

Asked about choosing to sign on at Wantage Road, Glover said: “It definitely wasn’t an easy decision, and I think I spent about two or three weeks going through it.

Brandon Glover in action during Northants' inter-club T20 friendly last week

“I spoke to my agent, I spoke to my parents, my friends, and obviously Ricardo and guys from other teams as well. But I just thought that this is a great place to grow.

“I have the Dutch bowling coach (Liddle) here as well, and he is one of the main reasons I joined as he sort of pushed me to come this way

“I have been working with him for two years now, and he is a really good bowling coach who knows what he is doing.

“He knows me and I know him, and there was also Ricardo and I also knew Ben (Curran) from before as well, so I knew I had some friends over here.

Brandon Glover in action for the Netherlands

“Then there was the promotion to the first division, and the team just seems to be really on the up.

“There are two new coaches, and the environment is growing and it seems to be a good place to be, with everybody at the club willing to work towards a good goal.”

His new surroundings have also hit the spot as well, with Glover adding: “It is a beautiful stadium, and Northampton as a town seems great.

“There is Abington Park just over the road, and it just seems like an all-round good place.

Brandon Glover represented his native South Africa as a teenager

"I had to think of all of these things before coming over, and it’s not easy, but I am very glad that I am here.”

It’s not easy for anybody to uproot and head for a new life in a new country, but it was a move Glover felt he had to make.

“It was quite a big step, but luckily I had the two years in the Netherlands beforehand, so I sort of got used to things - mainly the weather, with the very cold winters and the cold summers!,” he said.

“It is about following your dream and following your career, so it is a small sacrifice to make really, to come over here and make a career out of playing cricket.

“Hopefully I will do something good, which is what I intend on doing, so I do miss everyone back at home, but it is a really nice place to be over here as well.

“It has not been too bad, and I am settling in nicely I would say.”

Glover has actually been based in Northampton since March, but has been unable to get out on the cricket pitch due to the lockdown imposed in the UK following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was frustrating, but there wasn’t much I could do about it,” says Glover of the shutdown of all sport in mid-March.

“I was just happy to get the contract signed and to get over here. The three months off could have aided me as well, because I was coming back from ankle surgery which gave me a bit more time to recover.

“I linked up with the boys in Singapore and had a week here (in Northampton) before that, so I have got used to the environment.

“I have been able to work on my ankle, work by myself and it has been a long three months, but it is just great to be back with all the lads, and to get going.”

What was even more frustrating for Glover, is that he is living in a club-owned house that literally backs on to the County Ground.

It meant he could look out of his window every day and see the square and outfield, but he couldn’t get out and play on it!

“For those three months while I lived in the house, I was just coming out here and running around the outside of the field, and I couldn’t even set foot on the field for a large portion of that time,” said the Johannesburg-born bowler.

Glover finally got his wish to get a ball in his hand and start bowling on July 1, when the squad started to return to training ahead of the August 1 start to the delayed season, when Northants will begin their Bob Willis Trophy campaign with a trip to Edgbaston to play Warwickshire.

“I was always just wanting to be out there,” said Glover. “And now it is really great to get out in the middle and get a feel of the field, and to get bowling.

“I have been imagining it for three months, like how am I going to do it? Where am I going to come from?

“There was all that stuff, so it is really good to be out there and training with the lads.

“The guys were all really welcoming, especially when we were in Singapore as it was the first time a lot of them had met me, and the first time I had met them.

“They were all very inclusive and are a great set of lads.

“They are fun off the pitch and it is a good environment where you feel like you can really perform, but also enjoy a cold beer afterwards if that’s what you want.”

Although he has a growing reputation, most Northants fans won’t have seen first hand what Glover is all about.

So, from the man himself, what can they expect to see from Brandon Glover when he gets a ball in his hand as a County player?

“Hopefully they will see a bit of pace, I like to bowl quick and hammering at a length,” he said

“I will provide a bit of aggression with the ball and all that, and I like those hard fights.

“That is something I pride myself on, I like to run in and bowl hard, get myself into the battle, give some pace and then have a swing with the bat as well!”

To me, it sounds like he is somebody who is going to fit right in at the County Ground.