White back where it started as spinner’s berth is locked up

Head coach David Ripley believes Graeme White will add some variety to the Northants bowling stocks
Head coach David Ripley believes Graeme White will add some variety to the Northants bowling stocks

Graeme White has returned to the club where he started his professional career after signing a two-year contract with Northamptonshire.

Having left the County Ground in 2009 to sign for Nottinghamshire, White now makes the return journey after a lack of opportunity at Trent Bridge forced his hand.

This deal has been on the cards since the middle of last season when White played a handful of games on loan and it was accelerated once Con de Lange’s time with the club was brought to a close.

Head coach David Ripley had stated on a number of occasions that a left-arm spinner was at the top of his recruitment agenda and he admitted to being pleased that he had got his man.

He said: “Graeme did very well for us on loan, he looked very assured and a better bowler than when he left.

“Con (de Lange) was a good pro and I felt for him a bit with the injury he had but we thought that it was time for a change and Graeme was the one that we wanted.

“Some people are of the opinion that you shouldn’t go back but everything’s relevant and it depends on an individual player’s development.

“You only have to look at Steven Crook, who returned hungry and with a real desire to do well, and I think that Graeme fits that bill.”

Although it wasn’t needed at all last season as the County eased to proomotion in the County Championship, the fact they will now be able to field two spinners in four-day cricket was a key part of Ripley’s thinking.

He added: “Graeme’s got a good reputation in one-day cricket but he wants to play more red-ball stuff and he will provide us with some good competition for the spinner’s spot.

“Other teams will be doing their planning and they’ll see that we’ve got a strong seam quartet, so it wouldn’t be any surprise if they take us down a different road and we end up playing on some turning pitches.

“With Graeme here we’ll have some good variety and have all the bases covered which is important.”

The County had been linked with making a move for Monty Panesar but Ripley stated that some context has to be applied.

He continued: “Everything’s relevant and we can’t afford to go out and recruit high-end professionals for every position.

“We think that we can make Graeme a better cricketer, he looks better than when he was last here, he’s older and wiser and it’s good time for him to make the move.”