Geoff Cook: Cricket is a different world now

Geoff Cook first starting coaching Durham in 1992. Twenty-one years on the job is almost unrecognisable

Durham County Cricket Club's Geoff Cook
Durham County Cricket Club's Geoff Cook

Geoff Cook first starting coaching Durham in 1992. Twenty-one years on the job is almost unrecognisable.

“It’s a potentially totally different world,” he reflects. “Things are at your fingertips, the science that goes into coaching.

“My own philosophy is that coaching now is a massive science.

“When coaching and cricket managers started to come into fashion it was done very much on a sympathetic, empathetic style – a knowledge of the player and the game.

“Now because of what’s available there’s a lot of information given to the players now and it’s up to them to sift through that and sort out what’s best for them.

“The game has moved on massively. It’s pointless having a discussion whether it’s a better game or a worse one.

“There are some facets of modern-day cricket which you cannot argue against – the athleticism, the fitness, the power are to be marvelled at really.

“The skill variety perhaps isn’t as wide as in previous eras when the variety of surfaces people played on was much wider.

“All any generation can aim to be is as good as they can be in that particular era and that’s what you want every player to aspire to.” The landscape is changing at Durham too. The team has been through a dramatic overhaul, and with Cook now 62 and the club re-evaluating his role after a summer heart attack, the coaching staff will be next. One thing will not change, however.

“There’s a real backbone of Durham right through the club,” he says.

“That’s why bringing people in in a coaching capacity, which we’ve done a couple of times with Norman Gifford and Martyn Moxon, and in a playing sense more from an overseas point of view.

“Somebody like (Ian) Blackwell brought a new skillset as a left-arm spinner and attacking batsman, but that has to be very carefully thought through to make sure they’re the right type of person to come into the Durham framework.

“A coach coming in from the outside is difficult for a club. You assess what you need and if what that group needs isn’t available from within you may have to go outside and recruit.

“Local youngsters will be given chance to develop and if they show the right credentials and qualities they will be rewarded with the opportunity to play in Durham’s first team.

“As long as that is strong and consistent that’s all the young cricketers in Durham can expect.”

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