Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley has called on his batsmen to take greater responsibility as the county enter the final week of the Royal London One-Day Cup with their hopes of qualification hanging by a thread.
Having won only one of their opening five matches, Northants must win their remaining three fixtures and hope other results go in their favour to stand a chance of finishing in the top three of the North Group.
Yorkshire provide the first of the remaining opposition, in a day-night match at Wantage Road on Wednesday, before a trip to Grace Road on Saturday and the final group fixture on Bank Holiday Monday at home to Nottinghamshire.
“It’s a great game for us to have to go and prove we can do,” Ripley said of the Yorkshire match.
“We’ll be in front of the television cameras, in front of the pundits, and against an excellent side, but there’s no margin for error now.”
Northants failed to chase down modest targets against Derbyshire and Worcestershire and Ripley says his batsmen need to take better control, particularly when chasing.
“We need someone to grab responsibility to get us over the line,” said Ripley.
“There’s more decision-making needed in 50-over cricket, that’s where we need to improve – making smarter decisions through the innings. We’ve had one excellent performance where we hammered Warwickshire but the rest has just been too inconsistent.
“We’ve been pretty good with the ball but have just let ourselves down with the bat. And it’s self-fulfilling. Every chance that’s missed makes everything worse.
“We have had players get us over the line before but we need guys scoring sometimes bigger, sometimes quicker, sometimes sitting in – just making better decisions.
“It’s about individual responsibility and players working in partnerships to decide what the best course of action is at any point in the innings and then executing those decisions.”
Chasing targets has been Northants’ Achilles heel over the past three seasons – of their 13 defeats in that time, nine have come batting second.
“Sometimes you can get your thinking wrong and sometimes you can get the execution wrong,” said Ripley.
“At the moment, we’re shifting between not thinking too well and then not executing well.
“You’d rather it would be an execution problem because then we’re thinking clearly and mapping our way towards how we want to win.
“Our plans are clear about what we want to do but it’s about individuals going out and putting those plans into practise.”
Tickets for Northamptonshire home matches can be purchased on the county’s website via this link.