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David Willey named as Northamptonshire T20 captain on return to club

Incumbent Josh Cobb 'shocked and disappointed' at demotion with opening rounds looming

David Willey dismissed Vikramjit Singh twice in as many games, Netherlands vs England, 2nd men's ODI, Amstelveen, June 19, 2022

David Willey has been a regular member of England's white-ball set-up in recent years  •  Getty Images

David Willey will be Northamptonshire's captain in this year's Vitality Blast, following his return to the club after seven years at Yorkshire, although it is a move that has left his predecessor Josh Cobb "shocked and disappointed" at his demotion.
Willey, who recently completed a four-match stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, has been handed the role by Northamptonshire's Head Coach, John Sadler, now that his early return from the tournament has confirmed his full availability for the Blast campaign.
"This opportunity only really presented itself when we heard about him coming back a bit earlier from the IPL. He'll now be fully present for the build-up into the T20 and the full campaign as well." Sadler said.
"As a club we need to maximise all of his expertise. He's played in all the tournaments around the world, he's playing international cricket, he's played with the best players and coaches and now he's bringing that into our dressing room."
Cobb, however, made it clear in an Instagram post that the news had taken him by surprise.
"Having been blindsided by the news, I am both shocked and disappointed to be relieved of my captaincy duties so close to the Blast starting," he wrote. "Spending the winter planning and preparing the squad I felt we were in a good position to challenge again this year and we still absolutely are!!
"It has been a honour and privilege to lead Northants over the last 4/5 years and I have enjoyed it all. Thanks to David Ripley for entrusting me with the opportunity and all the players and fans for their support. I would also like to wish David Willey all the best for his tenure as captain."
Willey first played for Northamptonshire's Blast line-up in 2009, and went on to make 83 T20 appearances in his first stint with the club, including a key role in their first title in 2013. He announced his return to the county on a four-year deal last summer.
"Northamptonshire is a special place for me, I grew up here, my dad played here, it's great to be back." Willey said.
"With my experience and what I've done over the last seven years, hopefully I can add value to everyone in the dressing room and the club as a whole. I'm keen to give something back to a club and community that's given me so much over the years."
In spite of his disappointment, Sadler believes that Cobb will remain a key presence on and off the field.
"Josh has led the side well in recent years, he's got a good cricket brain and is tactically astute," he said. "I've got full respect for Cobby, he's a crucial part of this side and when he's firing he's one of the best around."
After his lengthy time away from Northamptonshire, Willey added that he looking forward to representing his home club again.
"I'm really looking forward to playing back in front of a home crowd at Wantage Road," he said. "The support and atmosphere here has always been exceptional over the years so I'm really excited to be back out there as a Steelback."