T20 BLAST PREVIEW: Ripley expects Northants to click despite 'mixed bag' of preparation
David Ripley admits the Steelbacks' preparation for the Vitality T20 Blast has been 'a mixed bag', but he still expects his team to quickly get into the swing of things.
Northants open up their 2021 Blast campaign on Friday night when they host Worcestershire Rapids in front of the Sky Sports cameras at the County Ground (7pm start).
Some players such as skipper Josh Cobb, Richard Levi and Wayne Parnell will go into that game with plenty of limited over practice under their belts, having played in the second team T20 competition over the past fortnight.
Brandon Glover is also up to speed having played in the Netherlands' ODI series against Ireland in Utrecht.
But others, the likes of Ricardo Vasconcelos, Adam Rossington, Saif Zaib, Rob Keogh, Nathan Buck and Ben Sanderson have barely seen a white ball as they have been busy playing in the LV= Insurance County Championship.
But they will all be thrown into the mixer for what is a hectic Blast competition, with the Steelbacks squeezing their first five matches into an eight-day spell, with the first three of them at home in the space of just five days.
"It is not ideal and it has been a bit of a mixed bag," admitted Ripley when asked about the preparation for the T20.
"Some lads have had some really good practice, they have played games, whereas that has been a bit less so for our red ball cricketers.
"We were a bit rusty in the game at Desborough on Monday (Northants IIs played Warwickshire IIs), but that is to be expected.
"We had a big full day of practice on Wednesday, and once you start you soon catch up really because the games come thick and fast.
"You get into the rhythm of bowling before the game, hitting a few before the game, and although it hasn't been ideal, at least we have had some guys that have played.
"We have that little backbone of Levi, Cobb, Parnell and Graeme White, who are all very important players for us, and they have been fairly prominent in the games and have all been in pretty good form, so that is great news."
The Steelbacks are without overseas signing Mohammad Nabi for the Rapids encounter as he is undergoing quarantine after arriving in the UK last weekend, while Luke Procter misses out on Friday as he has 'a slight niggle'.