Home   Canterbury   Sport   Article

Kent head coach Matt Walker on Simon Cook’s new position as the 46-year-old officially replaces retiring Paul Downton as director of cricket

Kent head coach Matt Walker always felt Simon Cook had the potential to become a director of cricket one day - it’s just come around much quicker than anticipated.

Cook officially replaced retiring 66-year-old Paul Downton as Kent director of cricket this week.

Newly-appointed Kent director of cricket Simon Cook. Picture: Keith Gillard
Newly-appointed Kent director of cricket Simon Cook. Picture: Keith Gillard

Cook is a former Kent team-mate of Walker and the pair have worked together in the team’s coaching staff since Cook returned to the club as a specialist bowling coach four years ago.

He was previously Hong Kong national team’s head coach before he came back to Canterbury.

Walker said: “It’ll change a bit and Paul going is a real change, having worked with him now for six years or so. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

“But that’s changing. Cooky coming in will keep the continuity.

“It’ll change in some ways but it’ll still be the sort of collaborative management-style group that we have always had.

Bowler set for Kent return

Duo leave Kent

“We’ve all been very collaborative - all of us as coaches and the captains. Cooky will now head it up and we’ll carry on that relationship.

“There will be slightly different roles but it’s good. I think Cooky will do a really good job. He’s that sort of character, he’s very organised.

“He did a similar role with Hong Kong cricket. Years ago, I remember when we hired him as bowling coach, through his interview, we realised he was someone - down the line - that could become a future director of cricket.

“It’s come early for him but I think he’ll be fine.”

Walker hopes the fact Cook is already familiar with Kent’s set-up means he hits the ground running in his new role.

Kent head coach Matt Walker. Picture: Keith Gillard
Kent head coach Matt Walker. Picture: Keith Gillard

He added: “The beauty of hiring someone from the inside, they provide that continuity, really, and know the club and the players and what’s gone before.

“That blending period for anyone coming in from the outside just isn’t there. He won’t need that period whereas, someone from the outside, would need to find their feet and get to know the system.

“He’ll have his ideas and, hopefully, it’s a partnership that will work really well.”

Cook wants to continue coaching at Kent when time allows, which could present first-team coaches - such as Walker - with more time to work further down the club’s pathway at points.

The 46-year-old is significantly younger than his predecessor Downton.

“He’s a lot younger than Paul and still probably wants to keep his hand around the group,” Walker said.

“He’ll be hands-on around the dressing room a bit more.

“That allows more coaches to work down the pathway in the season. We’ve got lots to talk about and lots to plan.

“It won't all change but I think there’s things Simon wants to implement and tinker around with, which is always a good thing.

“When different people come into that role, you expect to see different ideas which are always healthy.”

One of the key areas where a decision will need to be made is over who will captain Kent.

Wicketkeeper Sam Billings remains club captain but stepped down as red-ball skipper in June while experienced batting duo Jack Leaning and Joe Denly have led the team at different points since then.

Walker noted: “We will sit down and discuss what is right for the club.

“I guess that’ll be one of Cooky’s first jobs to get the right person in that role. That’ll be discussed. We’ll sit down and talk that through.

“Jack has done a great job since he took it over, really, in the red-ball campaign. He’s brought a real enthusiasm and willingness to learn on the job.

“We’ll sit down and make sure that we get that right because it’s a very important role.”

Kent will host their end-of-season awards event at The Spitfire Ground tonight.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More