Northeast: I’ll rise to Championship challenge

Sam Northeast. Picture:

Sam Northeast has vowed to make his mark in the top tier of the County Championship.

And he expects to do so at number four for Hampshire.

The 28-year-old, who was unveiled at the Ageas Bowl on Friday, has dreams of playing for England.

But to catch the eye of the selectors, he knows he must weigh in with big runs in division one – where he has not played since he was 21.

Northeast said: ‘It has been a long time.

‘If I had finished my career not being able to play at the highest level domestically, I would have regretted it.

It is going to be a challenge, there is no doubt about that. But it is one I do believe I am up to

Sam Northeast

‘It is going to be a challenge, there is no doubt about that. But it is one I do believe I am up to.

‘The big thing for me is proving myself at that level. Whether the England selectors say so or not, I think they do put a little more value on those runs.

‘So it is important for me to go and score division one runs and then see what happens. It is an exciting challenge for me.’

Northeast is confident he has joined a team who can be fighting for honours, too.

He added: ‘I have a great opportunity here.

‘You look down at that squad now and there is potential to win trophies in one-day cricket and the Championship.

‘It is a team with a mix of experience and young players coming through. That blend is a really exciting prospect.

‘I think I am at my best in the middle order – in all formats of the game, really.

‘I spent a lot of time opening at the start of my career and slowly slid down.

‘And I have found that to be a really nice spot for me.

‘Hopefully I can thrive there for Hampshire.’

The Ageas Bowl already feels like home for Northeast.

He has familiar faces in the dressing room and fond memories of runs in the middle.

But while those factors were a boost on his arrival, they were not driving forces behind his switch from Kent.

Northeast said: ‘I have a few fond memories of playing at the Ageas Bowl.

‘In my experience, the surfaces have always been very good here. Very true with a nice bit of carry.

‘I have scored a few runs here in the past, which is nice. It feels familiar, there is no doubt about that. So I’m really excited.

‘I grew up with Daws and Vincey in age-group cricket, too. It was a factor in my decision but not a huge one.

‘It is always nice to walk into a changing room and know a few faces but it was more the fact I believe Hampshire is a county moving forward.

‘There is a really good, exciting squad and coaches here who can take my game to the next level. That was a bigger factor.

‘Playing against Hampshire has always been tough. They have had a very good squad over the years and I’ve been impressed with the way they play their cricket.

‘It always really appealed to me. And I am ready to get stuck in and contribute as best as I can. I want to be a big part of success at Hampshire.’

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