GEOFF Cook has thanked Liam Plunkett for helping to put Durham on the world cricket map after the all-rounder joined Yorkshire.
The 27-year-old moved to Headingley yesterday, signing a three-year contract with the Tykes.
The move gives Durham greater freedom to reshape their squad after a disappointing 2012, and Plunkett an opportunity to get a once-promising career back on track with his home county.
Although Plunkett made only one County Championship appearance last season, failing to take a wicket against Somerset, Durham coach Cook preferred to dwell on the contributions he made earlier in his 12-year spell with the county. “I would like to wish Liam all the very best for the future,” he said. “I would also like to thank him for not only how he represented the club, but also what he has achieved, which has put Durham on the international cricket map.”
Cook was mainly referring to Plunkett’s nine Test-match and 30 limited-overs appearances for England.
When the Middlesbrough-born player made his Test debut against Pakistan in 2005, it was the first time Durham had three men – all home-grown – representing their country in the same game. Stephen Harmison and Paul Collingwood were team-mates that day. At that stage Plunkett was one of England’s most exciting bowling talents, but he never had the consistency to make the most of his potential. Nevertheless, he made important contributions to all Durham’s three major trophy successes. Plunkett took 3-42 in the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy final win over Hampshire and while he was a bit-part player in the county’s first County Championship success in 2008, he was their second-highest wicket-taker when it was retained, with 49.
Constant tinkering with his action, at club and international level, did irreparable damage to his confidence, as did some of the harsh treatment handed out to him in one-day international cricket.
After another remodelling last winter he started 2012 in the second team and was never able to make a convincing case to get out of it.
His season ended sat on the sidelines, disgraced by a second drink-driving ban.