For David Murphy, the past six months have seen the 23-year-old progress from understudy to first choice keeper at the County Ground and gain international honours with Scotland this winter. But the wicketkeeper is not about to get complacent any time soon.
David’s winter started with a call up to Scotland’s tour to South Africa, and it seems the youngster made a good impression during his time in Potchefstroom. As he said, “The facilities were top drawer, and because it was at altitude, it proved to be a good chance to do a lot of fitness work ahead of the pre-season starting at Northants. It was also a great chance to work on my cricket. It went pretty well out there. I got a 50 against the Highveld Lions just after they had finished their Champions League runners-up campaign, which was quite satisfying. I was also pleased with my keeping out there and I even got the chance to captain one of the games which was a pleasant surprise and honour, being thought of in that leadership role.”
“Pride,” was the overriding feeling for ‘Murphs’ after his international call up, because as he explained, “I have a lot of Scottish heritage in my family and I felt proud to represent Scotland. I think it will feel a bit more real when we come up against truly international opposition. I think there is a trip after Christmas that I’m hopefully selected for, that could see us play fully fledged international cricket.”
Whilst the Academy graduate was touring with Scotland, recruitment continued here at the County Ground, and one move affected David more than any other – the departure of fellow wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien to Leicestershire. It means David comes back to Northampton with a more enhanced role to play, now being the club’s most senior Wicketkeeper. This fact seems to not faze the youngster.
“By the 2nd half of last season I was playing pretty much as the number one keeper here at the County ground, so with Niall leaving, it’s a bit of a continuation of that. Having said that I’m not about to get complacent, I don’t think some of my performances were at the level I wanted to be at but I’m relishing the opportunity to kick on at the start of next season and cement my place as the number one keeper here at the club.”
“Obviously, Niall leaving is a loss to the club as he was a very good player but hopefully I can step up and make sure the team pushes on next season.”
David is not the only option with the gloves here at the County Ground after 17-year-old Ben Duckett was signed from the Academy on a two-year deal and it is a signing that David believes will push both players to better performances in the future.
“Ben is an excellent prospect and he can get into the team in his own right. He was always highly rated as a player throughout his progress through the age-groups and I’m looking forward to competing for the gloves against him. We can only push each other to get better. It’s not right that players can walk straight into a team so competition for places is needed and keeps players on their toes. It’s the same as when ‘Nobi’ was here, we pushed each other for the spot, and I’m sure Ben will be doing all he can to get in the side, I know I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Finally, ‘Murphs’ discussed his focus for winter training, in saying, “At the moment, I’m working on improving my fitness and giving my hands a bit of a rest. Over the next few weeks I’ll start doing a bit more batting and then after Christmas I will work on my keeping. I know what I need to do, and it’s about finding the right balance, although I would suggest that I maybe do slightly more batting through the winter.”
“I’m sure ‘Rips’ will keep me in check because as I mentioned before, I wasn’t especially happy with my keeping. That has to improve and I want to get up to standards that mean I’m able to contribute readily to the success that the team is aspiring towards.”