Northamptonshire’s Josh Cobb has released a statement on Twitter stating he was “shocked and disappointed” after his county announced that he would be replaced by David Willey as Steelbacks captain for the 2023 T20 Blast.

Cobb, who has lead Northants in T20 cricket since 2019, wrote that he was “blindsided by the news,” especially given that it had come “so close to the Blast starting”. He went on to write: “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’s been an honour and a privilege to lead Northants over the last 4/5 years and I have enjoyed it all… I would also like to wish David Willey all the best for his tenure as captain.”

Willey rejoined Northants after leaving Yorkshire at the end of last season. He was captain of the Yorkshire Vikings in the T20 Blast for the last two editions of the tournament, taking them to the knockout stages on both occasions.

In a statement on his appointment, Northants confirmed Willey has been given the captaincy by head coach John Sadler after returning home early from the IPL, meaning he would be fully available for the entirety of the Blast. Willey suffered a fractured toe and adductor strain whilst playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in India, ending his stint for the franchise this year.

“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,” said Willey. “I’m keen to give something back to a club and community that’s given me so much over the years.”

Cobb will continue to represent Northants as a player in the upcoming competition. He was player of the match in 2016 final of the T20 Blast, in which he scored 80 off 48 balls to help the side lift to the trophy.

“For now I’ll be trying to win as many games for Northants and my teammates as I can,” wrote Cobb. “Hopefully the squad can focus on two massive Championship games and then get stuck into the T20s. Let’s go and win the Blast again.”

Northants’ first game of the 2023 T20 Blast will take place on May 24 at home against Worcestershire.