Stephen Peters, the Northamptonshire opener, has started his 17th year in the game delighted to be actively involved following a back problem that forced a premature end to last season.
“I missed the last two games at the end of last year because of a bulging disc,” said Peters. “l’ve had back problems for ten years but not that particular injury before. It left me flat on my back for a couple of weeks and it has taken a long time for me to recover although I was fortunate that I had the winter to rest. By the start of this season I was fit and raring to go.”
An early opportunity to test his recovery came with selection for the MCC in the fixture against county champions Lancashire in Abu Dhabi. “I was delighted to get the chance. We were really well looked after, the practice facilities were really good, the weather was great, we had a tough match and, all in all, it was a really good trip.” he added.
“I managed to get 32 in the first innings and then 28 but in the second innings, but I was batting in the twilight period which is notoriously difficult. I batted for nearly a session in both innings so it was good to get some time in the middle.”
Northants’ own start to the county season was less than auspicious with a 202-run defeat at Derby but the former Essex and Worcestershire opener is hopeful that, by the end of the campaign, his team will overcome the frustrations they have experienced in recent years.
“In two of the last three Championship seasons we’ve missed promotion by a point and hopefully, this year, we’ll finally get that promotion spot,” said the 33-year-old. “We’ve got some good young players coming through together with some experienced cricketers, it’s a nice blend and it’s by far the tightest-knit dressing room that I’ve been in over my whole career. We enjoy each other’s success and help each other when we’re struggling.
“Overall life’s good and I’m looking forward to the season but, don’t get me wrong, it does have its tough times. The low scores or the bad run of form comes along and you think that it’s the end of the world.
“I’ve been in that situation several times and, when you are younger, you get really worried about things. I get less fazed by it now when it happens because I’ve learned during the last five or so years that, particularly as an opener, you will have low score periods because that’s the nature of opening the batting.
“It’s not nice when it happens. You just have to pick yourself up, keep your chin up and keep working as hard as you can in the nets. I’m a massive believer that if you put in the work and the time off the field, then even when you are in that low trough of form things will turn around.
“That’s the way I’ve worked for the past few seasons and I’m sure I’ll be doing that again at some stage this year.”