County bid to extend contracts of Wakely and Cobb

Northants head coach David Ripley is aiming to get skipper Alex Wakely and key man Josh Cobb tied to new contracts before the start of the new season.

Josh Cobb and Alex Wakely played leading roles at Northants last season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Josh Cobb and Alex Wakely played leading roles at Northants last season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Both players have a year remaining on their current deals and Ripley would dearly love to keep both players at the County Ground for longer.

Wakely skippered Northants to T20 glory in 2013 and was captain last season, when the Steelbacks went all the way to the final once again, eventually losing to Lancashire Lightning.

The 27-year-old was the top run scorer in their County Championship Division Two campaign and is a staple feature of the side in all formats.

Cobb was also hugely impressive during the previous campaign, which was his first at Northants following a move from Leicestershire.

The 25-year-old was Northants’ leading run scorer in the Royal London One-Day Cup campaign and also starred in the T20 heroics.

And Ripley said: “It would be nice to get those things (contract renewals) done before the start of the season because in modern cricket when players are in the last year of their contract, people can put in to speak to them.

“That’s why sometimes players go into the last year of their contract, because they want to speak to other counties and see what’s around.

“Obviously we went through this last year with Ben Duckett, (Muhammad) Azharullah and Rob Keogh.

“It can add to the stress levels because other people are talking to your players, you’re trying to negotiate and you’re trying to continue with playing the cricket matches. It’s not ideal but it is part of modern-day cricket.

“It does happen at other counties as well and we’ve previously spoken to other players at other counties in the last year of their contracts. That’s how it works.

“But if you can agree with the player that you both want to commit to longer than that year, that’s helpful.

“It brings a bit more stability.”

On Cobb’s contribution last season, Ripley said: “His big competition was the 50-over comp. He was our leading run scorer in that and was a heavy contributor.

“He chipped in very well in the T20 competition as well and he scored more fifties than anyone else in the Championship without scoring a 100. He did score some runs when we really needed them down the order. I’m sure he doesn’t see himself batting there permanently and he’d like to move up.

“We’ve got a good battle for positions there, we’ve got good quality, with players wanting to get themselves up the order.”

And on Wakely, Ripley added: “Alex has got a very good CV with his captaincy already, with winning the T20 (in 2013) and getting to the final last season.

“He’s shown that he’s got some very good qualities in that area and he’s just a good bloke to have around and leading the team.

“Last year in four-day cricket he was our leading run scorer, so he had a good season.”