Vasconcelos excited by 'fresh energy' at Northamptonshire ahead of new season

Ricardo Vasconcelos believes there is 'a fresh energy' at Northamptonshire following a winter of change behind the scenes at the County Ground.

By Jeremy Casey
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 6:09 pm

After more than 10 years in charge, David Ripley stepped down as head coach at the end of the 2021 season, handing over the reins to his assistant of two years, John Sadler.

But that has now been the only alteration to the coaching and backroom set-up.

Chris Liddle has stepped up from bowling coach to be Sadler's assistant, with Ben Smith coming in as the new batting coach.

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Northants opening batsman Ricardo Vasconcelos

Graeme White has also been given added responsibility as the first team's spin and fielding coach, while there are also new faces in the physio and fitness departments.

The first team squad and new faces are currently on a pre-season training camp at the High Performance Institute of Sport in Potchefstroom in South Africa where they can all get to know each other better.

And before jetting off Vasconcelos spoke about the 'positivity' at Wantage Road, and he feels that bodes well for the new season which starts on April 7.

"There has been quite a bit of change," admitted the 24-year-old, who has been a fixture at the County Ground since the summer of 2018.

"There are a few new faces around the backroom staff, there have been changes there, and it is just little tweaks.

"But there is definitely a fresh energy around the group.

"I know everybody is excited to get going and hopefully with this new positivity then we can push forward and show what we can do."

Vasconcelos has also enjoyed his time spent with batting coach Smith since he got back from a six-week training camp in his homeland.

"I only met Ben for one session before Christmas before I left for South Africa, but since I have been back he has been really good," said the left-handed opening batsman.

"He has shown real energy, he doesn't stop throwing balls and has never said no to anything extra, so it has been good.

"Ben is still getting to know a few of our games inside and out, and I am sure as the season goes on he will throw in a few pearls of wisdom that will help a few of us."

Northants are due to return from South Africa on March 17, when they will be hoping the weather will be good enough in the UK to continue outdoor training.

They are due to entertain Cardiff UCCE in a three-day friendly from March 28, before hosting Leicestershire in another red-ball encounter ahead of that County Championship opener against Gloucestershire on Thursday, April 7.