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Kent director of cricket Simon Cook adapting to his new role during the close season

Simon Cook has detailed some of the challenges he has faced as he adapts to being Kent’s director of cricket.

Cook stepped up from his bowling coach post in October to replace the retiring Paul Downton.

Kent director of cricket Simon Cook. Picture: Kent Cricket
Kent director of cricket Simon Cook. Picture: Kent Cricket

It is Cook’s first experience in the role, albeit he previously worked as head coach of Hong Kong before he returned to the UK in 2019.

He has helped Kent submit a bid to the England & Wales Cricket Board to become one of eight counties with a tier-one professional women’s team from the 2025 season.

The 47-year-old said: “When you take on the director of cricket role, you feel like you’re going to do a lot of ‘cricket’.

“The men’s stuff has been relatively straightforward, although I’ve had to try and learn about budgets and all the other stuff that goes with it.

“The challenge is there are three kind of big projects that are going on at the moment in women’s cricket.

“Understanding the dynamics and everything else that goes into that in terms of the impact it could have in the club, both positive and negative, you have to take into account almost every possible dimension. Those are the things I’ve quite enjoyed.

“It’s been about looking at things completely differently.

“I’ve started doing Mergers and Acquisitions courses, and all sorts of other stuff that I didn’t think I was going to be doing!

“I felt I was just going to be talking to players about whether they were going to come in and play, and where they’re going to live.

“It’s been kind of what I expected but there have been some curveballs in there, as well.”

Despite Kent appointing another former bowler in Robbie Joseph as Cook’s replacement as bowling coach, Cook still hopes to have a hands-on role with regards to coaching with the club.

“It’s an element that I constantly have to check a little bit,” he explained. “I’ve been very clear with myself in saying that’s the cricket side of things.

“I’ll still want to get involved and will be around to assist with slinging, mitting or whatever.

“I’ve said that I’ll see more of my (coaching) role in the second team and the Academy games and set-ups during the summer.

“I’ll be around to jump in and out, but I’ve tried to be as hands-off Walks’ world as much as possible because that’s not my world - that’s his world.

“I’m here as a facilitator to make things happen as best I can.”

Something Cook has already been keen to implement at Kent is a one-club mentality - from the Academy to the first team, and from the women’s side to the men’s team.

Women’s and girls’ pathway manager Dave Smith is starting to see that work come to fruition already.

“Since I’ve been involved in my role, the club, year on year, have kind of upped their efforts to try and make it one club,” said Smith.

“It is days like this (Kent’s pre-season media day) and days like the awards evening that (make a difference).

“Everyone from the women’s squad left the awards evening, saying ‘That was a really positive experience.’

“For the club to give that to the women when, at the moment, they’re not professional cricketers, you can only hope that will keep growing if we become one club and actually have two professional teams.

“It’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

All-rounder Joey Evison (1-30) took the only wicket to fall as Loughborough UCCE moved to 178-2 on a rain-disrupted second day of Kent’s three-day friendly at Canterbury on Monday.

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