Steelbacks coach Ripley ready to learn from cricketing giants Warne and Morgan
David Ripley is hoping he can pick up ‘one or two nuggets’ as he works closely alongside two of the biggest names in cricket during his stint with London Spirit.
The Northants coach will spend the next month away from the County Ground, as he takes up his role as assistant coach to Shane Warne at the Lord’s-based franchise.
As well as working alongside one of the game’s all-time greats, Ripley will also be helping to plot Spirit’s progress through the competition with England’s World Cup winning skipper Eoin Morgan.
The Irishman is the captain of the star-studded Spirit squad, and Ripley admits that he is excited at the prospect of learning from two such successful, and influential, people.
“There aren’t many bigger names in cricket, ever, let alone in my lifetime,” said Ripley of Warne, who claimed more than 1,000 wickets in international cricket for Australia with his devastating leg-spin.
“He is up there with the greatest players to have ever played the game.”
Warne is usually seen and heard in in commentary boxes, but has coached in the past, and in 2008 led the Rajasthan Royals to the IPL title.
“Being a coach is not his day job, he is a pundit, but he was a brillant player and he is going to bring some of that to it,” said Ripley, who joined up with the Spirit squad at Lord’s on Monday.
“It will be great to get the chance to work with him in the changing room, and then chat to him off the pitch here and there to pick up one or two nuggets.”
And on the Spirit skipper, the Steelbacks head coach added: “Eoin Morgan is obviously the other big draw.
“He is is at the height of his powers having lifted the World Cup, and has been very instrumental in England becoming a very good white ball team.
“He has really driven that with the coaches, and Eoin Morgan is right up there.
“So being around those two blokes is going to be a highlight and seeing what I can learn from them.”
Ripley is also relishing the opportunity to coach at a higher level than the county game.
Although The Hundred will not be boasting as many star overseas names as the ECB will have hoped, there are still some top foreign players involved, as well as all of the England squad that are available.
And Ripley is looking forward to the challenge, although he admits he will still be keeping one eye on the Steelbacks’ progress in the Royal London One Day Cup.
“This is something I was hoping I would get the chance to do in the early days of my career as a head coach,” said the 54-year-old, who has led the Steelbacks to two T20 titles in 2013 and 2016.
“These tournaments have always been around and I thought it would be good to be involved, but I didn’t really get close to any of them.
“So I am looking forward to getting the chance to experience franchise cricket, where you get a group of guys put together.
“Then it is about what you are going to do to help them win a cricket tournament.
“There are obviously some very high profile coaches and players involved which is exciting, but I am still excited about the 50-over competition back home as well, and I am disappointed to be missing that.”
London Spirit begin their Hundred campaign on Friday night when they travel to Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Phoenix.
There is set to be some Steelbacks representation on the pitch as well as Mohammad Nabi is set to play for the Lord's-based side, but another Northants man, Adam Rossington, is going to have to wait for his chance.
The 28-year-old hasn’t featured for the Steelbacks since suffering a blow to his wrist in the Vitality T20 Blast defeat to Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley on June 26.
It was an impact injury, and although the player is healing well and will soon be fit, Spirit’s opening encounter will come too early.
“Adam hit a few balls the other day,” said Ripley, who will be the player’s assistant coach at the Lord’s-based franchise.
“It was nothing too extravagant and was more red ball batting.
“He also caught some balls, but I would imagine it will be difficult to see Adam being available for the first game.”
Rossington’s opportunity to make his mark is likely to come later in the competition, once England call-ups for their Test series with India start impacting things.
“We lose a couple of players after two or three games as Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence are in the England squad,” said Ripley.
“Hopefully, by then Adam will be fit and make a strong case for coming in when those two guys leave.
“That will be his aim.”