Cook comments on return to pre-season

Monday 25th October 2010

Kent“s Mr Reliable, seam bowler Simon Cook, talks to the website about his plans throughout the winter, where he is lending a hand to the club“s much acclaimed cricket academy – his first-stepping stone towards a career in coaching once his playing days are over.

Cook once again played his part throughout a tough 2010 campaign, where many academy graduates, such as Matt Coles and Alex Blake, were given their chance to shine in the first-team. Cook, a model professional, sees the academy as a crucial part of the club“s future and is keen to be a part of it: “I“m working with the academy players and helping them to continue to develop and improve. I“m predominantly involved with the fast bowlers on Monday evenings but I“m also working right the way down to the under 11s too. I enjoy getting the opportunity to give something back and hopefully help shape the future of the next generation.”

Last week the players based in the UK returned to do some fitness training at the ground, and at the DW Sports Fitness Centre, to maintain their peak physical condition over the winter months. Cook, a former Middlesex bowler, was one of them players and he understands that high fitness levels are becoming increasingly important in the modern game: “I“m involved in training with (strength & conditioning coach) Pete Kelly and the boys. We returned last week for fitness training and it was good to get the opportunity to increase my fitness levels. I wouldn“t say I enjoy fitness training but I respect the fact that it is vitally important. The fitness side of the game is becoming increasingly important and the intensity is ever increasing. We players have to be physically on top of our game to do that. We are required to train harder and longer because the game demands it.”

Cook topped Kent“s t20 bowling averages last season, capturing 21victims at 19.66, to continue a fine career at the St Lawrence Ground and to prepare for a promotion push back LV=CC division one, the 33 year-old plans to stick to a tried and tested programme over the winter period: “Farby has called us on to be fitter and I will work to a similar programme to that of the last couple of years. I have my own specific programme as I know what is good for me. I will be doing a strength block before Christmas in the gym. I will them go to a finishing school in Hong Kong and do some circuit training as well as playing in matches and the like.”

When his extremely productive playing career finally comes to an end, Cook, who has 330 first-class wickets to his name, is looking to stay in the game as a coach. He has already made great strides towards his goal and is keen to help young cricketers realise their dreams of playing the game at a high level: “I“ve now completed my level four. It is the highest qualification that a coach can get and I certainly want to follow that path once I retire. I want to put something back into the game and give the emerging youngsters an opportunity to hopefully succeed. I get a sense of achievement in helping people achieve their goals. It is something that I enjoy doing. I remember how it was when I played club cricket as a youngster. I didn“t always get the right opportunities and I think it is vitally important to pass on knowledge and help to accelerate their learning.”

However, despite Cook already making plans for his post-playing days, he still quite rightly believes he has plenty in the tank to give to Kent and wants to continue his career for a few seasons yet: “I want to play for as long as possible and I feel I am still learning as a player. It“s an ongoing process; you never stop learning in cricket. The game is constantly evolving with different tactics being employed by teams. With the introduction of powerplays in one-day cricket and the constant development of t20, things are always changing. I haven“t put a timeline on how long I intend to keep playing for. I want to play for as long as possible as I still feel I can contribute.”

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