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February 17, 2012
Leicestershire have declined Josh Cobb's request to go and play in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Cobb, who took the Man-of-the-Match award in final of the Friends Life t20 in 2011, had been offered an opportunity to replace the injured Chris Gayle in the Barisal Burners squad. But Leicestershire have refused to issue a No Objection Certificate - the paperwork necessary to release Cobb to play - citing the player's fitness as the obstacle. Cobb underwent minor surgery to remove a cyst on his knee last month.
Leicestershire's decision resulted in 21-year-old Cobb, who recently signed a contract extension that will keep him with the club until the end of the 2013 season, unleashing a frustrated response on his Facebook page. "Not great for morale when your club won't let you go to the Bangladesh Premier League to replace Chris Gayle," he wrote. The post was subsequently deleted. Cobb's tweet on the issue was more mundane. "Absolutely gutted not to be able to go and play for the Barisal Burners in the BPL!! Looking a great tournament," he posted.
"I can understand him being a bit upset," Leicestershire chief executive Mike Siddall said. "In normal circumstances we would be quite happy for him to go. We don't want to stand in the way of a player if opportunity knocks.
"But Josh had knee surgery over the winter and the club have made the decision that he is not quite fit enough. I'm sure he feels - as any young man would - that there is not much wrong with him, but it's our responsibility to care for his long-term future in the game.
"This is an important year for Josh and Leicestershire. We were bottom of Division Two of the championship by miles last year and part of the reasons was that we didn't score enough runs. We want to make sure he is fully fit to play a big part for us this year."
Meanwhile Russell Cobb, the father of Josh and coach to the Leicestershire youth sides, is expected to be appointed the new director of cricket at Loughborough MCC University. He will be succeeding Graham Dilley, who died in October, in the role.
Cobb, 50, has been at Leicestershire for more than 30 years. After a career as a top-order batsman, he took on a coaching role and has helped in the development of such players as Stuart Broad, Luke Wright, James Taylor and Nathan Buck.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
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