New skipper Cobb aiming to bring T20 success back to Northants Steelbacks

Josh Cobb (left) has taken over T20 captaincy duties from Alex Wakely
Josh Cobb (left) has taken over T20 captaincy duties from Alex Wakely

Josh Cobb will hope to lead a Northants Steelbacks revival in the Vitality T20 Blast as the competition gets underway on Friday night.

Cobb has been appointed to succeed Alex Wakely as captain in the shortest format and hopes to bring success back to the County Ground.

Cobb joined Northants in 2015 and helped them reach the T20 Blast final which they lost to Lancashire Lightning, before his man-of-the-match performance in the final helped them beat Durham Jets to lift the title a year later.

It was Cobb’s second man-of-the-match award in a T20 final, having also starred in Leicestershire Foxes' victory in 2011.

So who better to try and turn the County’s fortunes around?

“There have been a lot of conversations going on behind the scenes to improve this year,” said Cobb.

“It’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about making sure everyone is aware of their roles and the gameplan and then giving them the confidence and the freedom to go and execute those plans and play to their potential.”

Cobb’s experience extends around the world, having played in three editions of the Bangladesh Premier League and in New Zealand’s T20 competition.

He hopes that a fresh start and some new faces, with Pakistan's Faheem Ashraf and South Africa's Dwaine Pretorius arriving as overseas players for the whole of the group stage, can deliver a winning run in this season’s T20 Blast.

“We’ve got two new overseas players and if we can get an early win it would give everyone a great lift and encourage the players to play a positive brand of cricket,” said Cobb.

“It’s a 14-match group stage, so there’s enough time to get things going but it’s about as soon as we get that first win, building on it and taking the momentum forward.”

How might Cobb put his own stamp on the team as captain?

“I won’t have too many pre-conceived game-plans, it’s about how I see it out in the middle,” he said.

“I like to think I’m quite an aggressive captain, leading from the front with the bat but also trying to take wickets and putting batsmen under pressure by setting certain fields.

“I’ll have ideas in my head about how the 20 overs are going to go and who is going to bowl where but at the flip of a hat that can change and that’s one thing I’ll ask the bowlers - be ready to bowl at any stage.

“I’ll have done my homework about certain batsmen and if we get a certain match-ups I’ll be looking to target them.”

Following Friday night's opener at Durham, the Steelbacks travel to Trent Bridge to play Notts Outlaws next Wednesday night and then play their first home game of the campaign next Friday against Birmingham Bears.