Sadler backing Northants to shine against star-studded Surrey

John Sadler is confident his Northamptonshire team will continue their strong start to the LV= County Championship Division One clash when they come up against early season leaders Surrey at the Kia Oval this week.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 8:18 am
England Test opener Rory Burns is the captain of Surrey
England Test opener Rory Burns is the captain of Surrey

The County go into Thursday's encounter still unbeaten after three matches, having claimed draws in their two opening home games against Gloucestershire and Yorkshire, as well as last week's trip to 2019 champions Essex.

They now face possibly their toughest task to date as they travel to London to face a star-studded Surrey side that is currently setting the pace at the top of the table, having won two and drawn two of their matches so far this summer.

They include a host of international stars in their ranks, including England Test players Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes and Sam Curran, but Sadler is confident Northants will be a match for their hosts.

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Northants head coach John Sadler

"As we have said before, there are no easy games in division one and the come thick and fast as well," said the head coach.

"We did well last week, and have done well in the first three games, but it all counts for nothing now, and we have to start again.

"Surrey are a good side, they are always going to have some big players in their team, but I am confident that man for man we can match up."

Northants were winners over Surrey when the sides met at the County Ground last summer, and although Sadler says he and his players enjoyed that thrilling two-wicket success, he knows it is going to have very little bearing on this week's match.

"We do know we can beat them, but it kind of counts for nothing," said Sadler.

"It's a completely new season, different ground, different conditions, different faces, so it doesn't really count for much that we beat them last season.

"It was nice to beat them, and it was a great win, but we turn up on Thursday at 11 o'clock, it will be nought for nought and we know we have to start again."

Sadler has been delighted with how his team have started the season, having the better of the meetings with Gloucestershire and Essex where they were pushing for victory, and then digging in to claim a share of the spoils against the odds against Yorkshire.

"I am extremely proud of how the team has performed," said the 40-year-old

"The lads have been absolutely superb with the way they have gone about their business and used their skills so far.

"It was just a shame we didn't quite get over the line at Essex.

"On another day we would have nicked a couple of wickets here or there, and it could have been very different. We could have been sat here with two wins under our belts.

"In the game against Yorkshire we were backs to the wall for almost four sessions, so to bat that out and bat the full day showed the guts and character we have.

"There have also been other times within the games that we have been under pressure, and we have managed to stand up and be counted, which was something we spoke about at the start of the season.

"There are going to be times when we have to soak up some pressure, and there will be times when we can be a bit more on the attack, and we have got the balance of that right so far.