A clash between the teams placed sixth and seventh in the table may hardly seem an enticing prospect. The reality is, however, that both sides have plenty to play for.
Warwickshire who have won one and lost one of their four matches to date still have hopes of successfully defending their title. Northants who lost their most recent match against Surrey after three draws are probably looking downwards and hoping for a win that would ease relegation concerns.
Warwickshire have a few worries regarding the form of key players. They will be pleased that Dom Sibley’s hard work on his technique paid off when he scored 183 for once out in the draw against Lancashire. By contrast, the talented trio of Alex Davies, Rob Yates and skipper Will Rhodes have a collective average of only 18. The form of Rhodes is especially troubling – just 73 runs in six innings.
As for the bowling attack, Olly Hannon-Dalby stands alone, with 18 wickets at 16 apiece. All the other regular bowlers have paid twice that price for their wickets. Overseas player Nathan McAndrew, it is true, came through with 4-85 against Lancashire but, prior to his debut wicket, his collective Bears analysis was 0-150.
Northants’ captain Ricardo Vasconcelos can probably empathise with the struggles of his opposite number, having so far managed only 90 runs from seven visits to the crease. By contrast, Luke Procter and Rob Keogh have compiled over 550 runs. The duo have also taken 16 wickets between them, offering good support to Ben Sanderson whose 18 wickets have cost only 20 each.
Can it really be eight years since Deep Extra Cover carried out the first in-depth interview with a fresh-faced 18-year old named Sam Hain just as he was showing what he could do for Warwickshire with a double century against this week’s opponents? It can, indeed – and the surprise is that a player with the talent to average almost 60 in List A cricket has a first class average only in the mid thirties. His record this season of plenty of decent starts but a top score of 78 is all too typical. Maybe this is the week when he plays the really big, match-winning innings of which everyone know he is capable.
Northants are a team full of good, solid professional cricketers who, subject only to the usual variations in form, can be relied upon to deliver. That’s a pretty good description of Luke Procter. Since making his debut 12 years ago for Lancashire – as it happens, at Edgbaston against Warwickshire – he has made a whole series of workmanlike contributions with his steadfast left arm batting and well controlled right arm medium paced bowling. He may not be the man to empty the bars when he comes out to bat but his contributions are invaluable to this Northants side.
Warwickshire will be missing Chris Woakes who was due to make his return to cricket this week but still has knee and shoulder problems. Liam Norwell is in the squad and is hopefully now fully recovered from the concussion that he suffered against Somerset.
Warwickshire squad: Will Rhodes (c), Chris Benjamin, Danny Briggs ,Michael Burgess (wk), Alex Davies, Sam Hain, Olly Hannon-Dalby, Matt Lamb, Nathan McAndrew, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell, Dom Sibley, Rob Yates
Northants make three changes to the squad. Ben Sanderson rotates out of the squad, with Gareth Berg returning. Also, Ben Curran joins the squad.Tom Taylor rests, so Nathan Buck comes in.
.Northants squad: Ricardo Vasconcelos (c), Gareth Berg, Nathan Buck, Josh Cobb, Ben Curran, Emilio Gay, Matt Kelly, Rob Keogh, Simon Kerrigan, Lewis McManus (wk), Luke Procter, Jack White, Will Young
Weather and Conditions
The forecast is for four fine days, with the temperature rising into the twenties by the weekend. Groundsman Gary Barwell can be guaranteed to produce a true pitch with plenty of carry.
Date: 12-15 May 2022
Ground: Edgbaston Stadium
Odds (SkyBet): tbc