Northamptonshire have announced Alex Wakely as their new captain across all formats of the game.
Wakely has already skippered the Steelbacks in T20s and ODIs, but missed the entirety of this season with an achilles injury sustained during a pre-season tour of the West Indies.
Unsurprisingly, Northants are already looking ahead to next season, even with one game left. Rock bottom of Division One, their relegation was sealed two games ago with a draw against Somerset, leaving them with the somewhat unwelcome advantage of being able to write the current season off.
Winter of transition
Now, David Ripley’s team are set to embark on a winter of transition. With a number of senior players struggling to perform, the younger sector of the dressing room have the opportunity to shine next year.
Former South Africa international Andrew Hall is to be released, while one-time captain David Sales is retiring because of injury problems.
The decision to appoint Wakely also means Stephen Peters will give way, at least as captain, after the opener’s difficulties with form. Peters, who can certainly benefit from focusing solely on his own game, is also restricted to the four-day game, whereas in Wakely, Northants can have one man in charge in the County Championship, T20 Blast, and the Royal London One-Day Cup.
As the Wantage Road side face up to the prospect of being relegated without a win – and with a grim record of 11 defeats and three draws – Wakely will have a difficult task on his hands to raise morale.
Perhaps aided by his absence from a poor season all round, Wakely was the obvious candidate to take the armband.
Having led the Steelbacks to the the Friends Life T20 Cup in 2013 as shock winners, he has already proven himself as one of the most capable batsmen – and indeed, leaders - at the club. Head coach Ripley will be hoping that that experience will have given him the sense of responsibility required to lead them out of Division Two at the first time of asking.
The 25-year-old told Sky Sports: “I am completely honoured to have been asked to captain Northants. It is something I have wanted to do ever since I came to the club as a 13-year-old.
“I still have a lot I want to achieve with my own career”, he added. “After a very frustrating year for me with injury I cannot wait to get back playing.”
Fellow batsman David Willey, who recently earned his first call-up to the England Lions, will act as vice-captain in all competitions.