Former England all-rounder David Capel was today planning talks with pace bowler Bud Bailey about his Northamptonshire future – after giving him a glowing mid-term report.
The towering 18-year-old took five wickets for 40 against Lincolnshire at Grantham on Wednesday to help Norfolk into the semi-finals of the MCCA Knockout Trophy, after being released for the match by his first-class county.
Norfolk-born Bailey is working hard to earn a contract with Northants next season and head coach Capel said he was making a favourable impression.
“I’m pretty pleased with Bud’s progress this year. He has grown in his maturity and his first year as a professional has been very, very promising,” said Capel.
Bailey, real name Shaun, who was born in Norwich and grew up in Watton, made his first-class debut for Northants in the opening championship game of the season against Essex.
“He’s played a first-class game because we wanted to give him a taste of it,” said Capel. “Unfortunately he had a couple of little injuries, to his thigh and his knee, but you half expect that when you’ve just turned 18. The body needs to get used to playing consistently and you expect a little bit of injury. Big guys with a big frame have to grow into their bodies.”
That 6ft 7in frame has obvious benefits, however, for an opening bowler.
“There are advantages as you will have seen with pace and bounce, and his co-ordination is extremely good,” said Capel.
“He’s working hard at the technical side of his game with the coaching staff and making good progress. I think in his first year he has done extremely well.”
As for next year, Capel confirmed: “I will be speaking to Bud in the very near future.”
Norfolk will be hoping for another favour from Northants when they face Devon in the knockout semi-final at Manor Park on Sunday, July 13.
Said Capel: “Whether Bud can play depends how the dates fall for him and on his workload leading up to the game and after the game. David Ripley, who is in charge of our second eleven and the Academy, will be looking at that.”
Bailey is keen to help his home county to a Lord’s final after his Grantham success.
“I’d love to play in the next round – it depends on the coach,” he said.
“I’m very delighted to come back and play and get a five-for, especially on this sort of occasion.
“I was lucky to get the end with the wind behind me and I got into my rhythm nicely. When the pressure was on, I tried to take control of it and luckily I got a few wickets.”
Though it was only his second senior Norfolk appearance, Bailey was in familiar company after playing in the same Norfolk junior sides as Jaik Mickleburgh and playing for Swardeston with three more of Wednesday’s eleven.
But Bailey, who has represented England at junior age groups, is determined to grab his chance with Northants.
He said: “I got my first team debut this year against Essex and did all right so I’m in the set-up and have put my name forward to hopefully get a few more games for them this year and maybe next year get a contract.”
Fellow Norfolk 18-year-old Rob Newton is another Northants Academy player and will be teaming up with the county after A-level exams at Framlingham College.
“I am pleased with his batting and he is one coming through for the future. There is still a lot of work to do, there are other disciplines in the game, but I’m looking forward to him joining us for the second half of the season,” said Capel.