Alex George Wakely
November 03, 1988, London
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
Middle order batter
The high regard in which Alex Wakely was held at Northants was encapsulated when he was appointed Northants' captain in limited-overs cricket at only 24, as well as being given the vice-captaincy, behind Stephen Peters, of the first-class side. The captaincy of the Championship side, again in succession to Peters, followed at the end of a dismal 2014 season for Northants as they failed to cope with promotion to Division One of the Championship and were relegated by a distance. Wakely missed that season because of a ruptured achilles tendon suffered on a pre-season tour of Barbados.
County captaincy seemed a natural progression for someone with clear leadership ability, an ability which had already been recognised when he was appointed England's captain for the 2008 Under-19 World Cup.
His perceived captaincy skills were allied to improving and attractive batting in the top four, albeit regularly let down by a propensity for being dismissed when well set: at the start of the 2014 season, Wakely had 21 first-class fifties but only two centuries. He began to address that shortcoming in 2015 with Championship hundreds against Gloucestershire and - a career-best - Leicestershire. He was also in charge when Northants defied talk of financial problems to reach the final of the NatWest Blast before losing to Lancashire before going one better the following year.
He became a central figure in the emergence of a small Northants squad - playfully nicknamed The Chubsters - that became a force to be reckoned with, especially in T20 cricket. The emphasis was on mental well-being and positivity as much as physical fitness and rules were kept to a minimum. At the start of 2017, Wakely then announced that Northants were "fed up of being average" in the Championship and oversaw a promotion challenge that only failed deep into the final day of the season. This was a county squeezing every drop from their limited resources and enjoying themselves along the way.
2018, though, was a reminder that at Northants nothing would be easy. "Brutal" was how he described a season which made it clear another rebuilding operation was necessary.
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