Sam Northeast – Ambitions for the 2012 Season

Tuesday 22nd May 2012

Men’s First Team

Sam Northeast – Ambitions for the 2012 Season

Kent batsman Sam Northeast hashad atough start to the season. The talented right-hander was omitted from the county side during the early stages and confined to second XI duty in a bid to find top form again.

However, the former England Under 19 star was one of the team’s bright spots in an otherwise gloomy Kent display in their defeat in the Clydesdale Bank 40 match at the hands of the Unicorns on Sunday.

The Harrow scholar made a solid 69 out of an ultimately fruitless and below par total of 165 to show he is in decent touch and knocking on the door for a championship recall. The 22 year-old was happy to make some runs but, naturally, disappointed with the result.

You were man of the match over the weekend in the Club’s CB40 defeat to the Unicorns. Nice to get a personal award but was it frustrating to lose the game?

Yes, it was disappointing to lose. We’ve been on a good run, dating back to the start of the season, so it was frustrating to suffer our first defeat. It was nice personally (to get some runs) but such a shame that it wasn’t in a winning cause. We let ourselves down with the bat but we have plenty of chances to rectify that. There is certainly no reason to get too dejected. We just need to get it right moving forward.

Last season in CB40 and FL t20 cricket, Sam matured as a limited-overs batsman. Dropping down the order, he played numerous fine knocks to see him re-branded as a one-day “finisher” as he saw Kent home in tight situations more than once. It is a role he enjoys but he still feels he can make an impression at the top of the order in the years to come.

You have been used as both an opener and a finisher in one-day cricket – which role do you prefer?

I don’t know, if I’m honest. I’ve kind of fallen into the finishing role and I’ve certainly enjoyed it. I still see myself finishing up at the top (of the innings) later in my career but I’m certainly enjoying the role. It is nice to finish games off and you always get a good feeling when you do that. I am pretty happy with where I am at the moment.

With a first class average touching thirty, from 47 outings, Sam could maybe feel aggrieved that he has been out of the championship side at the start of the season. However, the batsman has just been named in the squad to face Leicestershire in Kent's LV= County Championship match at the St Lawrence Ground this week.

Does it surprise you that have been playing one-day cricket rather than LV= County Championship matches?

Probably, yes. I would see myself more as a four-day player but the Club gave me the opportunity in the shorter form of the game and I’ve got to take it. Hopefully the Unicorns innings is a big step in the right direction. I now hope to get more opportunities in the championship side.

How tough has it been, missing out on a place in the LV= CC side?

It was a little bit of a shock at the start of the season. Like most players, I had the goals of scoring a thousand runs but those went out of the window. Still, I am concentrating on the positives. I have really enjoyed playing second team cricket; working with Wilco (Simon Willis). He has helped get me in a really good place so it might be a blessing in disguise to get some confidence back. I was certainly disappointed as I wanted to start the reason brightly but let’s see how it goes. I feel in good form; I hope I can continue to score runs as that is the main thing.

After being encouraged to return to the second XI to post big runs, Sam hasn’t disappointed. With the added responsibility of captaining the side, the opener scored 166 against Durham and 72 against Yorkshire to keep his name firmly in the frame.

How are you feeling – are you happy with your game?

I’m very happy, especially in the longer form of the game for the second-team. I’ve been scoring runs and working hard with Simon.

After an impressive time with the England Under 19 side, the stylish batsman gained his first taste of international cricket. The next progressive step is to stake a claim with the England Lions side, just like Kent team-mate Matt Coles has done after an explosive start to the season. Sam knows that if he can regain his place in the first-team, and score heavily, then he will be heading in the right direction.

What are your aims for the rest of the season?

I'mlooking to make a mark by scoring some big runs and playing some eye catching innings. Looking to the future, the England Lions team has to be an aim and some big knocks could see me move into contention.

Matt Coles has got his chance with the England Lions. Would you like to follow him?

Yes, of course. I guess it is slightly different for him, being a bowler, but I have grown up and played with lots of the guys in the Lions side. Those people have been given their chance and that is where I feel I should be heading. If those players are doing it then I am sure that I’m capable of getting there too, in the future.

West Indies Test legend Jimmy Adams took over the coaching reins at the St Lawrence Ground over the winter and has already made a great impression.Sam is still very aware of the impact made and is keen to learn more from his coaching styles.

How much are you enjoying the Jimmy Adams influence?

The results and the feel around the place shows that people have taken on and embraced his ways. I don’t want to jinx it but it’s pretty smooth at the moment – hopefully we can keep going. Things are certainly looking good.

Photo: Sarah Ansell