Friday, June 26th, 2015

Ripley: Steelbacks Star Willey Looked At Home On International Stage

Ripley: Steelbacks Star Willey Looked At Home On International Stage

Northamptonshire Head Coach David Ripley says England’s David Willey has looked at home on the international stage and is looking forward to him returning to Natwest t20 Blast action at North Group leaders Worcestershire tonight.

The game is one of two back-to-back matches for the 2013 champions, who are at Trent Bridge 24 hours later to face Nottinghamshire in front of an expected five figure crowd.

Willey is back available for county duty again and Ripley says the allrounder has performed admirably for his country.

“It looks like he’s had a great time,” Ripley said. “He seems as if he’s enjoyed himself on the big stage, has embraced it and looked at home. I’m sure David will be involved in the one-day series with Australia and I’d be disappointed for him if he isn’t in the starting line-up.

“He’s shown he can take wickets with the new ball, he’s a brilliant fielder and the only downside is that while he’s batting down the order, we’ve not seen him making a telling 20 or 30 with the bat, but David’s capable of that. I’m sure given the opportunity, he’ll do that and lay a marker down.

“It does look like they’re seeking some continuity now and build towards the World Cup, with the group of young players that they’re selecting. David has certainly earned his selection and it’s very good for the club – we’ve not looked at it as a loss for Northants in any way.”

The Steelbacks are one of the form sides in the North Group, having claimed the honours in three of their last four games, including a last ball thriller against Lancashire.

The other tie saw a no result at Leicestershire but with Northants very much on top before bad light halted play at Grace Road,

Ripley feels the side are moving in the right direction. “We have a squad of 12 and there won’t be too much change,” he said.

“Obviously, David Willey is a massive player and is back with us, so someone will miss out for him.

“There are still so many games to go that I still want to look at the table and try and work a few things out. It’s a bit pointless to work out whether this is “must-win”, so we’ve got to just keep winning.

"When they come back to back like these two, they are important as two wins will catapult you somewhere and the same in the other direction if you don’t.

“Worcestershire are going well at the top and while Nottinghamshire aren’t doing quite as well, you feel their big names are going to start a roll soon. We’re in form, having won the last four, and we’ll take that into these games."

Steelbacks squad: Levi, Willey, Cobb, Duckett, Wakely, Crook, Rossington, Keogh, White, Kleinveldt, Stone, Azharullah.