Northamptonshire's Vasconcelos relishing heavy workload

The summer of 2021 was a very busy one for Ricardo Vasconcelos.

By Jeremy Casey
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 9:40 am

Along with Rob Keogh, Vasconcelos was one of just two players who were selected for every match of the Northamptonshire season.

That was 14 Championship games, 12 in the Vitality T20 Blast and eight in the Royal London One Day Cup.

Throw in the fact Vasconcelos also kept wicket and captained the red ball team when Adam Rossington was injured, and stood behind the stumps for the Steelbacks in the 50-over competition, there is no doubt he had plenty on his plate.

Ricardo Vasconcelos in action for the Steelbacks in the Vitality T20 Blast

But that is just the way the 24-year-old likes it.

And he will be more than happy if he is asked to do exactly the same in 2022.

"I don't worry about the workload," said Vasconcelos. "I want to play every game and I managed to do that last year.

"After my injury (Vasconcelos damaged ankle ligaments and missed the second half of the 2019 season) I missed quite a lot of cricket, and I never want to miss out again.

Ricardo Vasconcelos captained the Steelbacks in the Royal London One Day Cup in 2021

"So I am very happy to play in every game and contribute in whatever way I can, whether that be with the gloves or the bat, as stand-in captain, whetever it may be.

"I am ready to do anything that the coaches ask of me."

Vasconcelos was the club's top scorer in first-class cricket last season, topping the averages as well.

That was mainly down to a very strong start to the season, when the South African-born left-hander scored big centuries in the first three matches.

Ricardo Vasconcelos was leading run-scorer and topped the batting averages for Northants in first-class cricket last summer

Vasconcelos admits his form 'tailed off' in the latter part of the 2021 campaign, but he is hopeful he can maintain things the summer.

"I was really happy with the season for the most part," said Vasconcelos. "Although it definitely tailed off towards the end.

"I think that was more of a mental part of my game, and I had a few other things in my head that were going on.

"This is a new season, a new start, and hopefully I can start it like I started last season and then push on from there."

Ricardo Vasconcelos also took on keeping duties on many occasions

The first thing Vasconcelos will have to do of course is win his place in the Northants team at the top of the order - and that won't be straightforward.

The arrival of New Zealand Test batsman Will Young adds to the competition for places among the likes of Vasconcelos, Emilio Gay and Ben Curran.

And it is a challenge that Vasconcelos believes will bring out the best in all concerned.

"There is going to be competition, but that's what you want," said Vasconcelos.

"Good teams have competition for every spot so that nobody is guaranteed to play, and people have to earn their place.

"It will always help with performance if you know there is somebody waiting to come in do well.

"So hopefully that competition pushes us the right way and doesn't create any tension or whatever you want to call it, but I am sure that won't be the case.

"I know the guys. It's myself, it's Ben (Curran), it's Emilio (Gay), it's a few other guys and we are all really good friends, so that is definitely not going to be an issue.

"It is going to work in a positive way I am sure."

The Northants squad are currently wrapping up their pre-season training trip to South Africa, and are due to return to the UK on Thursday (March 17)