Durham’s Cook steps down

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DURHAM cricket chief Geoff Cook has stepped down from first team duties – but will oversee the development of the club’s young stars.

The club has announced a restructure of their coaching set-up, with Cook to focus on the youth set-up, particularly in the development programme of the Durham Youth Squads, Academy and Second XI.

The move comes after Cook suffered a heart attack midway through last season. He eventually recovered and returned to work, but in his absence Jon Lewis stepped up to look after the first team alongside Paul Collingwood, and played an instrumental role in helping Durham to the County Championship title.

Cook has been with Durham since they beame a First Class County and has overseen the Friends Provident Trophy win in 2007 and then the three subsequent Championship titles.

Lewis continues in the role of first team coach and will continue to develop his successful partnership with Collingwood, assisted by bowling coach Alan Walker.

Chief executive David Harker said: :“On behalf of the club I would like to acknowledge Geoff’s incredible achievements with the first team over the past six years.

“Durham County Cricket Club has delivered outstanding results under Geoff’s leadership and we are thrilled that he will now focus his considerable expertise on our youth development programme that is so important to the continued success of the club.”

Cook, who will remain director of cricket, added: “The club’s achievements over the last 21 years are nothing short of remarkable and not many would have anticipated three County Championship titles in such a short time.

“The fact that this success was based on the development of North East cricketers makes it all the more special.

“There is a lot of young cricket talent in the Durham youth squads and we hope that many of these players come through to represent to first team and hopefully bring glory to Durham in years to come.”

Lewis added: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to continue this role and I am excited for the challenge ahead.

“This is a very interesting time for the club with the evolution of the side and the increased opportunities for home-grown players to shine.

“Having been Second XI coach for many years I have worked with a lot of the young players coming through and now beginning to perform in the First Team.

“I will hopefully develop the partnership with Paul and hopefully we can bring success to the club in 2014.”