BLAST OFF! Cobb calls on class of 2022 to recapture Steelbacks' glory days

Josh Cobb is hoping the class of 2022 can recapture the winning magic of the successful Steelbacks' Vitality Blast teams of the past.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 1:45 pm
Josh Cobb was man-of-the-match as Steelbacks beat Durham to win the 2016 T20 Blast
Josh Cobb was man-of-the-match as Steelbacks beat Durham to win the 2016 T20 Blast

Northants start their T20 campaign on Thursday night against Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston (start 6.30pm), and Cobb would love it if he was leading the team out at the same venue on Finals Day on July 16.

That was something the Steelbacks used to regularly do, winning the tournament in 2013 and 2016, and also reaching the final in 2015.

Cobb was a key part of the team that won the competition six years ago, he was man-of-the-match in the final, but admits it is something of a mystery as to why the team has struggled to replicate that success in recent years.

Josh Cobb and skipper Alex Wakely with the Blast Trophy following the Steelbacks' win in 2016

The club has made just one quarter-final since, in the Covid-hit year of 2020, but the skipper is confident that this summer can see the Steelbacks regain their white ball mojo.

Asked about what the difference has been between Alex Wakely's serial winners of the mid-2010s and the Steelbacks teams since, Cobb admitted: "It is hard to say.

"We had a strong side, a strong group and everybody knew their roles inside and out.

"There are obviously different players here now, with excellent skill-sets as well, and it is just about finding the right blend, with the roles and the team balance.

"Fingers crossed that will all come together and we can get on a roll."

There is something of a new look to the Steelbacks this year, with some of the the old guard - and title-winners - such as Richard Levi and Adam Rossington having moved on.

But new recruits Chris Lynn, from Australia, and New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who misses the first two games due to IPL commitments, bring class, quality and experience.

And Cobb says success is going to be down to team work - and players 'having a day out' at key moments.

"Everybody has to buy into what the team needs, to put the team first, and if a few lads have great years then anything can happen," said the skipper.

"From the club's point of view and ours it would be great to get a home quarter-final, but it will be great to just qualify.

"That's because once you get into those one-off knockout games, with the likes of Chris Lynn and Jimmy Neesh, we have got plenty of match winners.

"If they go and have a day out in a quarter-final then anything can happen. If your form guys perform you are then in Finals Day and then again, as we have seen previously, it can happen on Finals Day as well."

The trip to the Bears is a tough start for the Steelbacks, but Cobb is backing his team to 'put on a show'.

"Bears have recruited well and they have a strong side," said the former Leicestershire man.

"We play against them a lot so we know plenty about them, and with it being the first game then anything can happen.

"But we have prepared well and hopefully we can put on a show."