Sadler wants Northants players to have 'fresh minds' for playing return at Somerset

Saif Zaib is playing for the Northants second team in their current clash with Loughborough UCCESaif Zaib is playing for the Northants second team in their current clash with Loughborough UCCE
Saif Zaib is playing for the Northants second team in their current clash with Loughborough UCCE
John Sadler says he is happy for his shell-shocked Northants players to get away and clear their minds following the heavy defeat at the hands of Hampshire last weekend.

The County are without an LV= Insurance County Championship match in the latest round of fixtures that start on Thursday, and have a free week ahead of returning to action against Somerset on May 4.

It's arguable whether that break from competitive action has come at a good time or not.

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Northants endured a chastening few days as they were handed an innings-and-270-run beating by Hampshire at the County Ground at the weekend, and there would be some coaches and observers who would demand the players get straight back in the nets to put things right.

Northants head coach John SadlerNorthants head coach John Sadler
Northants head coach John Sadler

But Sadler says he is 'pretty cool' about allowing the players to continue with what was some pre-planned time off.

“At the start of the season we were pleased to see a three-game block and then a breather, another three-game block, and I still stand by that really," said the head coach in the wake of the loss to Hampshire, that saw the County lose in the space of two and a half days.

“There is an argument to get back on the horse as soon as you can, and there's a second team game that potentially a couple of lads could play if they wanted to.

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“But you don't want to overreact after a tough couple of days."

The seconds are currently playing a red-ball friendly against Loughborough UCCE in Leicestershire, and none of the players that took on Hampshire are involved.

Tom Taylor, who was 12th man against Hants having recovered from injury, is playing, along with the likes of Saif Zaib, James Sales and Harry Gouldstone, who could all find themselves involved against Somerset at Taunton.

And Sadler insists he is relaxed about allowing the first team squad that struggled against Hampshire to get away and then return with 'fresh minds'.

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“I'm sure the guys will get away," said the head coach. "Sometimes it's nice to get away and clear your mind and then we come back and build up for another three-game block.

“So, I'm pretty cool with having a week off this week, to get some fresh minds.”

Star performer for the second team on the first day of the clash with Loughborough was leg-spinner Alex Russell.

The students looked to be heading for a commanding position as they eased to 192 for three in their first innings, before Russell was introduced to the attack and changed things completely.

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Russell was virtually unplayable as he claimed six for 10 from 9.1 overs to send Loughborough spinning to 249 all out. There had earlier been two wickets for young seamer Gus Miller.

With the bat, Northants have made a strong start to their reply, and at lunch on day two on Tuesday they were 207 for one, with Gouldstone unbeaten on 76 from 155 balls and Zaib 59 not out from just 57. Trialist Justin Broad made 59.