Steelbacks skipper Cobb 'can't wait' for his Hundred opportunity
Northants star Josh Cobb admits he ‘can’t wait’ to play in The Hundred.
The ECB’s controversial new format is launched this week, and the Steelbacks white ball skipper is excited to be part of it all.
Cobb was picked up by the Welsh Fire in the draft held earlier this year, and this week he headed to Cardiff to meet up with his new team-mates.
There will be one very familiar face as former Northants batsman Ben Duckett is also in the Welsh franchise’s squad, along with England players Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Liam Plunkett and Ollie Pope.
The Fire’s overseas stars are New Zealanders Jimmy Neesham and Glenn Phillips, and Afghanistan spinner Quais Ahmad.
The tournament starts on Wednesday with a Women's match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals, with Welsh Fire starting their campaign on Saturday when they travel to Headingley to take on the Northern Superchargers.
Cobb is one of a clutch of Northants players who are involved in The Hundred, with Brandon Glover part of the Oval Invincibles set-up, and Adam Rossington and Mohammad Nabi in the London Spirit squad.
Northants head coach David Ripley is also part of the coaching team at the Lord’s-based Spirit, where he will be assisting team boss Shane Warne.
The competition, which sees each innings last 100 balls, delivered in 10-ball bursts, either split in to two fives for different bowlers, or 10 in a row for one, has split opinion among cricket lovers up and down the country.
It is fair to say that traditionalists are very much against the competition and there has been a lot of opposition to it, but the ECB are determined to crack on, having invested millions of pounds into making it a success.
Whether that will be the case or not only time will tell, but as far as Cobb is concerned, he is a fan - even though his participation in it means he will miss Northants’ entire Royal London One Day Cup campaign which starts on Sunday against Glamorgan.
“I can’t wait to meet up with everybody,” said the former Leicestershire man. “Obviously, I am disappointed to be missing the 50-over competition, because it is one I enjoy playing in.
“But it is very exciting to be playing in a new tournament, and with the (Covid) restrictions being lifted by Boris Johnson, then fingers crossed there will be some big crowds at those games.
“Hopefully it will get the exposure that everybody wants it to have.”
Although many supporters of the county game are unhappy The Hundred is taking place at all, and plenty of media observers are sceptical of the whole thing, the players involved are keen, and for good reason.
They will all be paid well for the month the tournament lasts, and with every match being beamed live across the world, with the BBC even showing a selection of matches live on free-to-air UK television, it is a chance for players like Cobb to really catch the eye.
And if they do that, then it could open doors for them to play in other white ball tournaments around the world.
“It is all about the opportunity,” said Cobb, who has twice won the man-of-the-match award in T20 Blast Finals, once for the Steelbacks and once for Leicestershire Foxes.
“From a personal point of view, every game is a chance to put on a show for other people and get your name in various different hats,and every player will have their individual targets.
“So it is a competition I am really looking forward to.”
The first men's match of the competition is on Thursday between Glover's Invincibles and the Originals, with the match being shown live on BBC2 at 6pm, before London Spirit travel to Edgbaston to play Birmingham Phoenix on Friday evening (6.30pm).
Saturday sees two matches in the men's competition, with Trent Rockets hosting Southern Brave at Trent Bridge (on BB2 at 2.30pm) before Cobb and his Welsh Fire team travel to the Superchargers (6pm).