As Paul Collingwood’s career as an international cricket coach began in earnest yesterday, Geoff Cook has spoken of his pride at seeing players make a success of life after Durham.
England’s most capped player is in the United Arab Emirates as part of Scotland’s coaching staff for the World Twenty20 Championships qualifying tournament.
Yesterday they beat USA in their opening warm-up match captained by another Durham academy graduate, Northamptonshire batsman Kyle Coetzer.
Stephen Harmison told last week’s Sunday Sun Collingwood was the ideal candidate to be England’s next limited-overs coach.
Ottis Gibson is West Indies’ head coach and Michael Di Venuto is Australia’s batting coach,while Dale Benkenstein – who, like Collingwood, has a year still to run on his playing contract – is a batting consultant for Natal this winter.
Last summer Michael Gough made his debut as an international umpire, standing in two limited-overs games between England and Australia.
Cook, who will return to the head of a soon-to-be-remodelled coaching structure at Chester-le-Street next season, said: “What we try to create is an environment in which people enjoy their Durham existence.
“When they do leave, if it is to retire or play for somebody else – and those numbers are increasing over the last four or five years with people like Mitchell Claydon, Ruel Brathwaite, Will Gidman, Ben Harmison and Kyle Coetzer – when we cross their paths again they have a really warm spot for Durham.”
Collingwood and Benkenstein could both be candidates to replace Cook when he eventually stands down but, having successfully recovered from June’s cardiac arrest, that will not happen yet.
Jon Lewis and Alan Walker, who also played for the county, took charge of the team while Cook was ill, Neil Killeen stepping up to a second-team role.
A big disappointment for Cook in recent years was the fact Harmison’s career whimpered out.
The former world’s No.1 Test bowler was beset by injuries after the end of his international career and fell out of favour under Collingwood, not featuring at all in his final season.
Cook added: “You want everyone who is committed to Durham to end their careers in a way befitting the careers they have had.
“Stephen did not participate much in the last few years, which was sad for him - but hopefully that has not taken the shine off a fantastic career.”