Head coach Sadler a fan of 'Bazball' but says Northants have to strike a balance

"The teams that are successful this year will probably recognise those periods, of when to sit in, and those periods when to attack."
Northants head coach John SadlerNorthants head coach John Sadler
Northants head coach John Sadler

John Sadler is a big admirer of the England Test team, and the attacking, high risk, high reward cricket they have played since coach Brendon 'Baz' McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes took control just over a year ago.

The Northants head coach is also backing the England & Wales Cricket Board's attempts to encourage the counties to follow suit, and try to emulate England's 'Bazball' approach.

The powers-that-be have tried to do that by changing the points system ahead of the 2023 LV= Insurance County Championship season that starts this week, with Northants kicking off with a trip to Kent on Thursday (11am).

England coach Brendon McCullumEngland coach Brendon McCullum
England coach Brendon McCullum

Perhaps the biggest alteration sees the the reward for a drawn game dropping from eight points to five.

This is to encourage teams to go for the win and a 16-point haul, rather than play for stalemates.

This could be something that may alter Northants’ thinking, as they finished sixth last season despite winning just two of their 14 matches, but drawing seven.

As well as that change, the batting bonus point system has also been altered to try and encourage quicker scoring.

Northants vice-captain Lewis McManusNorthants vice-captain Lewis McManus
Northants vice-captain Lewis McManus

Teams will now not get their first point until 250 instead of 200, and if they want the maximum haul they have to rattle along to 450 inside 110 overs of their first innings.

The bowling bonus points stay as they were.

Sadler says it is 'fantastic' that the ECB want the counties to try and play in the same manner as the senior England team, but also believes that he key thing for Northants will be playing match situations as they develop.

He doesn't think it will work if teams just try to play 'bish, bash, bosh' cricket.

"England want us all to develop under the same banner they are playing, which is fantastic," said Sadler.

"It is going to be really interesting to see how teams go about their business, and I think everybody wants to play positive cricket."

But he added: "Everybody wants to be aggressive, but there are going to be times when it is going to be tough to do that.

"So the teams that are successful this year will probably recognise those periods, of when to sit in, and those periods when to attack.

"You are going to have to play some intelligent cricket as well, it is not just all bish, bash, bosh, there has to be some intelligence there too.

"It is going to be interesting to see how it goes, but ultimately we have the rules, we have the points system and we have to play accordingly."

Northants' new vice-captain Lewis McManus echoed his head coach's comments, and he believes that as teams get used to the new system this season, it is going to be all about teams being 'flexible'.

"The points system has slightly changed, so it is a little bit unknown how to go about playing, and if you slightly tinker the way that you play," said the former Hampshire man.

"But we will be flexible with that and we will play the scenario which is in front of us."