Ripley delighted with Northants players' attitude in pre-season training

Northants head coach David RipleyNorthants head coach David Ripley
Northants head coach David Ripley
Head coach David Ripley has hailed the attitude of the Northants squad on their staggered and limited return to pre-season training at the County Ground.

And he is now looking forward to being able to ramp things up to a more normal level as the County aim to hit the ground running ahead of their April County Championship opener against Kent.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, since the beginning of January the squad have been working in small groups of four or five players one or two days a week.

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Each group has had a designated coach, working with Ripley, assistant coach John Sadler or bowling coach Chris Liddle.

Richard Levi is still in South Africa, and will have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine on his return to the UKRichard Levi is still in South Africa, and will have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine on his return to the UK
Richard Levi is still in South Africa, and will have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine on his return to the UK

And Ripley has been delighted with how things have gone, saying: “It has been great.

“Everybody is aware it’s not going to be ideal, and they are not going to get exactly what they want every time they are in, because we are a bit short of bowlers in some of those groups.

“But we have also left the days as long as the lads need, so they have come in for the whole day and we don’t leave the ground.

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“Those five or six guys then get whatever they need, with the one coach staying to make sure that happens.

“We also have the strength and conditioning coaches in so there are gym sessions going on, which has obviously been a bit of a miss over the lockdown because not everybody has got a gym at home.

“So having that gym session has been an important part of it.

“The lads have had a great attitude towards it, and although some of them would love to do a little more we have not been able to do it.”

That could soon change though.

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“With the next phase from next week, we are going into the two groups, so that will be pretty much two groups of nine we’ll have with spinners, seamers and a mixed bag in every group,” said Ripley.

“Hopefully then we can introduce a bit more net practice.

"We also have three trips to Loughborough in this next block as well, and they have confirmed we can still do that.

“So we will go there for three Tuesdays on the bounce and use that facility.

“I haven’t had a lot of dialogue with other counties to see what everybody else is doing, but I think we will all be doing similar things. It is whatever works for people.

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“But I am pretty happy with where we are considering the restrictions that are in place.”

The whole squad is currently back in the UK and training, with the exception of Richard Levi, who is still in South Africa.

Ben Curran, Ricardo Vasconcelos and Brandon Glover are all back in the UK after wintering away, and have gone through their isolation period at home, but Levi is facing a quarantine stint in a hotel, as per current Government Covid rules.

Despite him being a first-class cricketer, the elite sport exemptions will not come into effect as Levi has not been part of ‘a bubble’.

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“Richard is going to have to spend 10 days in a hotel to do his quarantine, “ said Ripley. “We are not immune and it is just what has to be done.

“Richard is coming into the country to do his job, but so are a lot of other people, and I don’t think there is any way around it to be honest and he will have to do it.

“It means we are just going to have to factor that into our plans and assess when it is best for him to come back.”