Geoff Cook will make a welcome return to coaching duties when Durham renew their battle for the County Championship with a home fixture against Surrey this week.
Cook suffered a heart attack two months ago but is making a speedy recovery and will take on some of the coaching work alongside interim head coach Jon Lewis – which is a bulletin that will be welcomed by all at Chester-le-Street.
Last month Cook insisted that he would be fit and ready to return to full duties soon after revealing that there was no long-term damage sustained by his heart attack.
“I can’t remember anything about it, there was a slight malfunction in my heart,” he said.
“There doesn’t seem to be any damage to the heart so it’s a question of being able to regulate the pace of it and crack on and be sensible about cracking on.”
Cook’s health problems have put Durham’s tilt for the title into sharp perspective and his return comes as they face the prospect of a must-win match against struggling Surrey.
They will attempt to do that without front-line bowler Graham Onions, however, who has been advised to sit out the game with a finger injury. Durham’s firepower has also been reduced by the absence of Ben Stokes, who is away on international duty with the England Lions.
Calum Thorp’s hamstring problem sees him also miss the match, while Ryan Buckley is also out of the game.
Call-ups have been handed to young pair Jamie Harrison and Usman Arshad – who is set to make his debut after a fine campaign with the second team this year – while Gareth Breese also returns to the fray.
Durham are fourth in the standings but have games in hand over leaders Yorkshire and Middlesex. They have two games in hand on Sussex, who are currently third.
DURHAM SQUAD: Paul Collingwood, Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Scott Borthwick, Will Smith, Michael Richardson, Phil Mustard, Mark Wood, Gareth Breese, Chris Rushworth, Jamie Harrison, Usman Arshad.