Northeast to finetune form with Scorchers for English tour
CRICKET: Sam Northeast says hitting the pitch for the Scorchers isn't just a chance to play alongside "old mates" but to build crucial form for the England Lions' tour of the country.
The 30-year-old is a former captain of the Sunshine Coast outfit and has enjoyed successful stints in English county cricket over the past few years, the latest of which he belted 969 runs at 51.00 for Hampshire.
He'll hit the field for the Scorchers this weekend against Redlands and next weekend against Wynnum-Manly before embarking on an eight-game, month-long tour with the English Lions against Cricket Australia XI, Australia A and New South Wales XI.
He is itching to hit the field for the Coast.
"It's nice to see some old faces and it's great being out here and getting some cricket," he said.
"It's a shame it's not for longer but I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and playing with some old mates.
"It's always great preparation (for County). Every time I've gone back to England after a season here I've always gone back and improved and done well."
He was hopeful his short stint with the Scorchers would help finetune his game and build much-needed match form for his looming tour with the England Lions squad.
"I obviously haven't played outside since September (end of County season), so it'll be good for me to just get some time out in the middle and prepare on Australian pitches before playing for England Lions," he said.
"So, it's great preparation for me and whatever I can get out of it (is great). If I can get some runs it'll be brilliant but I just think it'll be fantastic practice either way."
While building for the Lions tour, he was eager to see his efforts give the Scorchers a boost, especially considering they're without the services of star talent Alecz Day following his heart attack a fortnight ago.
"Hopefully, I can come into the side and add a bit of value there," he said.
"Obviously with what's happened to (Alecz) losing such a good player like that is tough for the team.
"But, just glad he's up and well and his health obviously comes first."
The Scorchers sit 10th of 12 in the two-day, but wins in all four of their remaining matches could give them the chance at a finals berth.
Their match with Redlands this weekend will be played on home turf at Kerry Emery Oval.