Durham sign South African opener Stephen Cook as overseas player
What’s the story?
South African Test opener Stephen Cook has signed as an overseas player for Durham for the first of the 2017 season. The 34-year-old will follow in the footsteps of his father, who also played in county cricket but the good news for the Proteas is that he has signed as an overseas player rather than taking a kolpak deal.
Cook made his Test debut for South Africa in January 2016 against England and has since played nine Tests, scoring three centuries as well. Speaking about his move to Durham, which will see him take part in the County Championship and One-Day Cup games, he said: “Ever since I was a young boy, watching my dad (Jimmy Cook) play for Somerset, I always dreamed of one day playing county cricket. Now in linking up with Durham I am getting to live out that dream.”
Extra Cover: AB de Villiers opts out of England Test series
In case you didn’t know...
There will be several South African players plying their trade in the County Championship in the upcoming season. While the likes of Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw and Marchant de Lange have taken the Kolpak route, Dean Elgar will be plying his trade as an overseas player for Somerset.
Despite not finishing in the bottom two places, Durham were relegated from the County Championship Division One last year over financial issues and will start the 2017 season in Division Two with a 48-point deduction.
The heart of the matter
Despite scoring over 12,000 first-class runs, Stephen Cook was largely overlooked when it came to selection for the South African Test side. But since making his Test debut in January 2016 against England, the 34-year-old has established himself as a regular in the Test side.
Despite his unconventional technique, Cook has proven to be quite successful in Tests, scoring three centuries in his Tests, including one on debut against England.
South Africa’s next Test assignment will be against New zealand in March before taking on England in July-August following the ICC Champions Trophy. AB de Villiers, opted out of both series as he is still recovering from his elbow surgery.
Stephen Cook following in Dean Elgar’s footsteps and playing as an overseas player in the County Championship is a good sign for South Africa as it gives them time to adapt to the conditions ahead of the Test tour against England. Even though Cook is an experienced, it is a great move for both him and the Proteas ahead of a crucial Test series.Published 23 Jan 2017, 16:44 IST