Duckett issues Steelbacks rallying call ahead of away-day double header

Northants' Ben Duckett
Northants' Ben Duckett

Northants batsman Ben Duckett says he and his team-mates have ‘to stick together’ as they try to turn around their dismal Vitality Blast T20 campaign.

Seven games played, just one point on the board after six defeats and a tie, and a bowling attack that has conceded more than 1,300 runs at more than 11 per over.

They are grim statistics for the County players and supporters, especially as this is a format of the game where the team has excelled in recent years

But former England opener Duckett believes the Steelbacks can still turn things around and get some wins on the board, starting with a very tricky away-day double header over the next two nights.

Tonight (Thursday), David Ripley’s team travel to Chester-le-Street to take on third-placed Durham Jets, before going to Headingley for a Friday night showdown with a star-studded Yorkshire Vikings, who sit fourth in the North Group standings.

The Steelbacks are of course bottom of the pile and out of contention for a quarter-final place, but with seven games still to play, there is at least the chance to regain some pride, and build some momentum ahead of the final leg of the season.

Duckett says the players simply have to get on with it, and believes these two away games offer the perfect opportunity for the team to rediscover its togetherness.

“It’s massively important for us to stick together, which is something I said after the game last Friday,” said Duckett, referring to the County’s humiliation at the hands of Worcestershire, going down by nine wickets at home.

“We all get on very well and need to try to get to enjoy our cricket again.

“When you come to a home game you come in, play, and go home.

“It’s going to be good for us to have some time together, but with three games in four days we could get a bit of a bounce by getting a win in the first one, and then if we get a couple of wins it’ll be a lot nicer to come home on Sunday.”

Following their two games on the road, the Steelbacks return to the County Ground on Sunday for a home date with second-from-bottom Birmingham Bears (start 2.30pm).

The two teams played out an extraordinary tie at Edgbaston a fortnight ago, and Duckett knows the Steelbacks have to give the home supporters something to smile about after four defeats out of four so far at Wantage Road.

“We know everyone is disappointed,” he said.

“We’ve had some good cricket over the past few years, we’ve had some great fans come in and we can tell that they’re annoyed, so hopefully we can get them back on our side with a few wins.

“Every game is important, no matter the format. For us it’s been a tough start. Everyone knows that, and it’s important now for individuals, whether bowlers or batters, to perform.”