Durham turn to Marcus North after Cook retirement

Durham turn to Marcus North after Cook retirement | Cricket | ESPNcricinfo County news September 21, 2018 Durham turn to Marcus North after Cook retirement David Hopps Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Marcus North at a dinner at Lord's © Getty Images

Former Australia International batsman Marcus North has been appointed as Durham's director of cricket.

North replaces Geoff Cook, who retired from the role after 27 years with the club, but will be given wider powers than Cook had in his later years in a staff restructuring.

Durham's chief executive, Tim Bostock, said: 'Marcus' role will oversee all cricket activities, recruitment, contracts, players, scouting and developments together with the support functions, which all contribute towards creating a high-performance culture at Durham in the future.'

North has been handily placed to move into Cook's role. Now 39, he has spent the last three years gaining experience as chief executive at South Northumberland CC. He will start his new role on October 1.

Durham have begun to clamber back from the perilous position of two years ago in which they nearly went bankrupt and the ECB imposed relegation and points penalties alongside a financial bale-out.

Bostock is credited with bringing more of a can-do air off the field, Sir Ian Botham has been a drum-banging chairman and although they have often struggled in the Championship (this week's abject display against Leicestershire being as bad is it gets), they reached the quarter-final of the Vitality Blast and finally managed a modest growth in attendances,

Cook's contribution to Durham was so vast that Steve Harmison, the former England fast bowler, suggested that Emirates Riverside should be named after him. (Cook may hope the idea does not involve a hefty sponsorship down payment).

But North also has some knowledge of the county - and an appealing surname to boot. He played for Durham in 2004 as an overseas player making four centuries with a highest score of 219 against Glamorgan.

North scored five international Test centuries for Australia - including two against England in the 2009 Ashes Series.

His trek around the county circuit became so pronounced that he became the first player to represent six of the 18 first-class counties, a number since equalled by the Pakistan legspinner Imran Tahir.

After his first-class retirement, he played in the North East Premier League for Gateshead Fell and South Northumberland, becoming chief executive in 2015 at the Gosforth club and overseeing the staging of three of Durham's Royal London Cup fixtures at the Roseworth Terrace ground.

'I'm excited to have been given the opportunity to come back to Durham,' he said. 'International and first-class Cricket has been a major part of my life and this role allows me to utilise my experience and skills in a different capacity. With the season concluding next week It is the perfect time to review current strategies'

'It is paramount we create an environment that challenges and supports this squad, in delivering progression and consistent performances in all forms of the game, to ensure we develop a successful squad that we are proud of.'

Bostock added: 'I've known Marcus for a number of years and he was the outstanding candidate following our thorough recruitment process. He has the perfect balance of vast cricket experience from the elite playing side combined with shrewd business sense from his previous Chief Executive role.'

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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