With the seventh Indian Premier League getting under way, some of cricket’s big names are being linked with moves to the County Championship; Northamptonshire, in particular, are still searching for an overseas player after moves for Jackson Bird and then Rory Kleinveldt fell through due to injury.
An ambitious section of Northants’ support have called for South African bowler Dale Steyn to be approached. This would perhaps be punching slightly above their weight after he was recently named the best fast bowler in the world, and wages would almost certainly provide an obstacle between the two parties.
A more realistic candidate might be Steyn’s compatriot and fellow fast-bowler Morne Morkel, who is now in his fourth season of IPL cricket, and plying his trade with the Kolkata Knight Riders. He took the wicket of Delhi Daredevils’ Manoj Tiwary at the weekend.
Darren Sammy is another alternative, although one that may again be over-reaching. The West Indies captain may have struggled with the bat, but in his primary duties as fast-medium bowler, he has enjoyed recent success in the series against Australia.
That this is Northants first season back in Division One means they will definitely want to take advantage of any opportunity to make an overseas signing.
Primarily, though, the priority must be to sign a batsman considering the Steelbacks’ ever-lengthy injury list that includes limited overs captain Alex Wakely and the promising David Willey.
They were forced to follow on against Yorkshire after succumbing to the bowling charms of Jack Brooks; Northants were all out for 94 in their first innings, a total that will only reinforce to coach David Ripley that they are in serious need of strengthening if they are to survive in the top flight.
Virat Kolhi looks to be feeling at home in India, but his would be a signing that would do no end of good to Northants’ middle order. Kohli, who was one of the stars of the T20 World Cup, was recently hailed by former India bowler and ICC match referee Javagal Srinath as being up there with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid as one of his country's best batsman in the modern era.
Glen Maxwell is another candidate who has drawn attention to himself in the latest round of fixtures after earning man of the match and hitting 95 off 43 for Kings XI Punjab in their victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad. Maxwell admittedly had to ride his luck in what was otherwise an extraordinary innings.
Northants relied heavily on Wakely in the limited overs side of the game last season, and so a big-hitter like Maxwell would certainly give them a healthy boost as they look to retain the T20 cup.
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