County news March 17, 2014

Wakely injury blow to Northants

An injury to Alex Wakely overshadowed Northamptonshire's pre-season preparation in the T20 Barbados Cup tournament at the Kensington Oval.

Wakely, the Northamptonshire limited-overs captain, suffered what is believed to be a ruptured Achilles tendon on the first day of the competition. He has flown back to the UK for surgery and is expected to be unavailable for four months. If confirmed it will leave Northamptonshire, the 2013 domestic T20 winners, looking for a new captain ahead of the T20 Blast.

The club have also been forced to downgrade Jackson Bird's contact to just six Championship matches after discussions with Cricket Australia. Bird had originally been due to play 10 four-day games and seven T20 Blast matches but he will now just have a short Championship stint.

On a more positive note for the club, they have announced the return of Richard Levi, the South Africa opening batsman, for all one-day cricket in the 2014 season.

David Smith, the Northamptonshire chief executive, said. "Richard made a big impression last summer in T20 cricket, with match winning innings at Cheltenham, Worcester and in the semi-final match against Essex. He gives us the necessary fire power in the first six overs that are so vital to posting a competitive score in T20 cricket."

"Jackson's original contract was for ten County Championship and seven NatWest T20 Blast matches. The reduced schedule will see the club try and secure a second overseas bowler, for a further six Championship games.Our aim is to find someone that will be able to play in both the T20 Blast and County Championship. David Ripley is currently drawing up a shortlist of potential overseas players."

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire won the six-team Barbados Cup that has become something of a fixture in the pre-season schedule. They defeated Northamptonshire in the final by 10 runs on the D/L method after rain intervened. Chris Read top-scored with 40 in Nottinghamshire's total of 107 for 3 in 18 overs, before Northamptonshire were limited to 104 for 7 in reply. The Nottinghamshire trio of seamers - Jake Ball, Luke Wood and Andy Carter - claimed six wickets for 48 runs in 12 overs between them.

The other teams involved included Warwickshire, who were knocked out after a poor display of batting against Nottinghamshire, and Hampshire, who were defeated in the first round by Barbados having collapsed from 107 for 4 to 124 all out. A Combined Colleges and Campuses side also participated.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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