Rob Keogh says that a six-week spell spent playing and training in Melbourne this winter has reinvigorated his appetite for cricket ahead of the 2019 season.
After a frustrating and disrupted season that saw him play just eight fixtures for Northamptonshire last year Keogh headed to Australia, where he played for East Box Hill CC and trained with Big Bash side Melbourne Renegades, working with head coach Andrew McDonald and batting coach Lachie Stevens.
Now back at the County Ground and training hard with the rest of the Northamptonshire squad ahead of the Specsavers County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup and Vitality Blast campaigns, Keogh took time to reflect on how he has put the fun back in the heart of his approach to the sport.
“It was nice to get outdoors, get a bit of sun on the back and work on some things I missed out on in the summer,” he says.
“It was such a frustrating summer and you can get down on yourself but I’ve gone away, gone with the Big Bash team and seen how much fun you can have playing cricket. Sometimes you forget that as a player. I really enjoyed the stint, really enjoyed training and it’s made me really look forward to the season even more now.”
Keogh, who won the Vitality Blast with the Steelbacks in 2016 and helped the team to the 2017 quarter finals, missed out on the entirety of the T20 campaign in 2018 due to a finger injury picked up in a warm-up. This may have ruled him out of game time, but not out of action completely as it was on his non-bowling hand.
“I managed to bowl quite a lot of overs during the summer because it was my non-bowling hand, so I tried to take the positives out of it and it gave me a great opportunity to just work on my bowling and bowl as much as I can at the lads,” the spinner added.
“It was tough just bowling in the nets, I wanted to get out there. A finger injury is one of things that you can do everything other than bat and field basically. It gave me a good opportunity to work hard with Chris Lorkin, the strength and conditioning coach to try and nail my fitness. I feel like that’s really paid off.”
2018 may have been a year of fluctuating fortunes, but Keogh believes the club is in a great position going into the new season.
“Since I’ve been back you can definitely tell the change in the atmosphere,” he says. “It was a tough season for us so there’s a lot of looking forward, a lot of positives. Everyone wants to improve, I think it’ll be a very exciting year for us.”
Season Tickets remain available for 2019, and you can watch all 41 days of scheduled cricket from just £6.50 per day. Head to www.northantscricket.com/season-ticketsfor all the information.