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James Franklin admits decision to join Durham was a 'no-brainer'

Franklin was appointed on a two-year contract as the successor to Jon Lewis, who opted to leave his role as head coach at the end of last season...

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James Franklin has admitted the prospect of spearheading the new era of cricket at Durham was a "no-brainer" after assuming the position of Lead High Performance Coach at Emirates Riverside.

Franklin was appointed on a two-year contract as the successor to Jon Lewis, who opted to leave his role as head coach at the end of last season.

The former New Zealand international revealed that the vision of the club’s hierarchy along with the pool of talent available in the squad made it an opportunity that he could not afford to turn down for his first head coaching post.

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Jon Lewis is now a Sri Lanka coach

Franklin said: "I’m very excited to have taken on the role. It’s a very exciting group of cricketers to be dealing with. Coaching is something that I’ve been wanted to get more involved in. I’ve had a few bits and bobs over the last year or two in different leagues around the world.

"When Marcus North gave me a call and said he was interested in having a chat it was a no-brainer for me.  Listening to him and [chief executive] Tim Bostock explain where they want the club to go in the next few years along with my own research into the squad it became a no-brainer to come up here and get involved. It’s exciting for the next couple of years and this new era of Durham cricket."

Director of Cricket Marcus North believes that the mentality of Franklin matches that of the youthful squad at the Riverside after selecting the 38-year-old ahead of five other candidates for the role.

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Marcus North, James Franklin, Tim Bostock

North said: "For me it was finding the best fit for the squad. We felt that James being not long out of the game himself, having experience at different stages around the world with a bit of coaching, along with having discussions about his coaching philosophies, was a great fit for what we have at the club and certainly where we believe that this squad can go over the next couple of years.

"We have a very motivated, young, hungry coach, which aligns itself with the players to be the best they can be. We also have the experience of Neil Killeen and Alan Walker, which we feel is a fantastic fit for us moving forward."

Franklin inherits a team that finished eighth in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two last term, notching just four victories in their 14 matches, while they also finished bottom of the North Group in the Royal London One-Day Cup. Durham did enjoy a semblance of success in the Vitality Blast, reaching the quarter-final stage, only to be denied a trip to Finals Day by Sussex.

The New Zealander is hopeful of returning the club to the glory days of the past, but is aware that he is operating with a squad short of experience given the exodus of senior talent in recent years.

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Durham last won the County Championship in 2013

He added: "There have been some big implications for the club in recent years – not only financially but the loss of senior players moving to other counties or retiring.

"We have some good senior players left and a lot of exciting young cricketers with huge potential that hopefully we can get the best out of in the years to come.

"Of course [we want to return to winning trophies] it’s always going to be the goal. It’s not to say that we can’t compete this year and that will still be the goal of the squad to compete for trophies.

"It’s about getting the group out on the field supporting each other and trying to compete in every game. Hopefully we’ll be there and thereabouts in the back end of competitions and the back end of the County Championship season."

Durham begin the 2019 County Championship Division Two season away at Derbyshire on April 5.

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