It was in the Vitality Blast where he particularly impressed. Playing in a middle-order role, coming to the crease to back up the performances of Chris Lynn, Josh Cobb. and Jimmy Neesham, or to help his side recover if the key men had faltered, the academy graduate’s 311 runs came at an average of 34.55 and were struck at a rate of 150.97. His tally included three half-centuries, with a career best 92 made in defeat to Derbyshire.
Performances belonging to a player of seniority also came in the other formats. His century against Essex in the One Day Cup was enough to see him recruited as cover by the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, while a second-innings 124 against Surrey’s international-quality bowling attack in the County Championship helped to rescue his side from a perilous position and record an impressive draw.
Turning 25 during the second month of the 2023 season and having made over 100 appearances for Northamptonshire in all formats, Zaib has reached a point in a career where consistent performances of high quality are required rather than brief moments of promise, and he appears to be delivering just that.