DURHAM have been hit with a massive blow going into tomorrow’s Yorkshire Bank 40 clash at home to Hampshire Royals.
Head coach Geoff Cook was taken to hospital yesterday having appeared to have suffered a heart attack.
The news has rocked everyone at the club and players have been quick to post their support for Cook on social media sites.
On Twitter, County Championship skipper Paul Collingwood tweeted: “All our thoughts with Geoff Cook and his family. Sad sad day.”
Durham and England bowler, Graham Onions, also on Twitter, said: “Sad day for Durham CCC!my thoughts are with Geoff and his family,lets hope for a speedy recovery.”
Those comments were reitterated by Durham spinner Scott Borthwick, who tweeted: “Really hope our head coach and hero Geoff is ok and pulls through! Thoughts with him and his family!!!!”
There were also messages from the wider cricket community with former England skipper Michael Vaughan and current England spinner Graeme Swann posting messages of support on Twitter.
The club confirmed in a statement yesterday that Cook was taken ill and was in hospital undergoing treatment for a suspected heart attack.
The statement added: “The club is awaiting further news on his condition and our thoughts are with Geoff, Judith (Geoff’s wife) and his family.”
Bowling coach Alan Walker could take over the reins for tomorrow’s YB40 clash in Cook’s absence.
It will be a massive blow to the Durham, with whom Cook has been involved since their inception as a first-class county in 1992.
Cook took over as head coach in 2007, and led the side to their first ever silverware in the first-class game – the Friends Provident Trophy.
The Stockton man has also coached the county to successive Championship titles in 2008 and 2009.
Durham’s players, skippered by Mark Stoneman in the absence of one-day captain Dale Benkenstein, will a big test of character in trying to lift themselves for the game, after the shocking news.
Tomorrow’s visitors Hampshire are top of the Group B table having won five of their six games in the competition so far.
Their only defeat was a heavy nine-wicket loss against Surrey.
Durham lie third in the table having played a game more than the Royals, but having picked up four wins from their seven matches.
The men from the Emirates ICG are just 1.25 points behind Hampshire and 0,25 behind second placed Lancashire.
Victory tomorrow would put them in with a really good chance of qualifying for the next stage.
Meanwhile, Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes has been included in the England 14-man squad for the two match NatWest International T20 series against New Zealand at the Kia Oval. The two-match series begins on Tuesday, with the second game taking place on Thursday.