There is an old expression that states that you know you’re getting older when policemen start to look younger.
When Josh Cobb starts talking about the youngsters coming through at Grace Road, it has the same ageing effect on you!
Cobb himself is a product of Leicestershire’s flourishing youth set-up and made his debut at the age of 17. Just a few years on, Cobb will now take charge of players like James Sykes and Tom Wells, who are the Club’s latest Academy graduates.
The average 22-year old cricketer is just looking to break into the side but Cobb’s development is well-advanced. He has more than 50 first-class appearances under his belt and has played almost 75 one-day matches in the different formats.
Cobb, who has had a promising start to his Bangladesh Premier League career, also has captaincy experience at Leicestershire and was chosen to skipper England in the Hong Kong Sixes tournament in 2012.
These facts are all prove of Cobb’s talent and considered approach to the game and it is to his credit that he is already looking at how he can push forward in his career rather than reflecting on his successes so far.
He said: “I’ve played a lot of cricket for 22 but still see myself as a little bit of a youngster. I still have a lot to learn off the experienced players. But in terms of playing cricket, I have plenty of games under my belt.
“To be fair, there are a lot of young players here who have played a lot of cricket here so it is about time we got together, enjoying it and starting to win more games. That’s what we all want and what it’s all about.
“I’ve been fortunate through my family to always be around the club and senior players. I started my career quite young and have got invaluable experience. Now it’s about kicking on from here.”
Cobb had a good LV=CC season with Leicestershire, scoring 752 runs at an average of 34.18. Cobb posted his second first-class century and said that he is now looking to get his game to a point where he can pull any particular innings required out of his locker.
“The game is always moving forward with run rates increasing but there is a time and a place for both kinds of innings. For example, during the early part of the season you might have to graft an innings out.
“But you might also find that everyone is grafting and not getting far and then you have to look to reverse the pressure onto the bowlers. So for me, the biggest thing is to learn when and where to use those different styles and that will help me score more runs in the future.
“In the four-day game, after bursting onto the scene I had a couple of lean years but hopefully now I have cemented my place in the side batting in the middle order. I want to keep playing well in the middle order, scoring more runs and winning more games for Leicestershire CCC.
“The long innings were ones that I enjoyed because it brought home that I can do it. I have done it before and I’m looking to do it again. There are also times where you can express yourself more. I was desperate to get us over the line in the last game of the year. It was a big game for us in the context of the season. I looked to be positive and got off to a really good start.
“I knew that James Fuller had been coming round the wicket and looking to bounce us out and I spoke to (batting coach) Ben Smith and said I can’t let that happen. So when he came around the wicket I decided to take him on. I got off to a flier and I was disappointed not to see it home. It was a little bit closer than we all needed towards the end!
“The one-dayers I was either getting 50+ or nought to be honest! But I enjoyed the whole captaincy and enjoyed our wins immensely. It is about kicking on from now on.”
Cobb is also looking to develop his bowling and he formed a good spin partnership with Sykes in one-day cricket in 2012. Cobb is full of praise for teenager Sykes, who burst onto the scene with his accurate slow left armers.
He said: “I think my bowling is holding its own in one-day cricket, I have a plan and I’m trying to stick with it. I would like to work on it quite a bit to make myself more of a threat in four-day cricket because I burgled a couple of wickets with long-hops last year! I’d like to be able to work on my consistency and threat in four-day cricket so I can offer with bat and ball in all forms of cricket.
“I thought Sykesy (James Sykes) was excellent the way he came into the team. As a youngster, he brought a lot of energy and the lads enjoy his character in the dressing room. He has also worked hard on his batting and he played a key part in the win at Worcestershire getting us over the line with Ned (Eckersley).
“Sykesy was exceptional with the ball and was probably the most economical bowler out of the lot of us and deserved his place in the side. He’ll now be looking forward and wanting to push on this year.”