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Page last updated at 18:44 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Coach Geoff Cook rules out new Durham imports

Geoff Cook
Cook will be looking to win the County Championship for a third time

Durham coach Geoff Cook has ruled out the arrival of new signings ahead of his side's defence of their County Championship title in 2010.

But Cook is keen to attract an import for the county's Twenty20 campaign, as Durham did last summer with Australian batsman David Warner.

"The only possible signing overseas is a Twenty20 player," said Cook.

"We spoke to someone at the end of last season but there's no chance of Durham signing any English players.

Durham again signed West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul last summer for his third successful short stay with the county.

But Durham have decided not to retain him for a fourth year.

Durham will be bidding to become the first side since Yorkshire in 1968 to seal a hat-trick of successive Championship titles.

And one boost for Cook ahead of the forthcoming season is the likelihood that fast bowler Steve Harmison, signed up on a new four-year contract, will be available for much of the campaign if, as seems likely, his England days are over.

"Although he's only 31, it seems as though the England selectors have said 'Thanks very much' and are looking to youth," Cook told BBC Newcastle.

"But Steven always says he loves playing for Durham. And we've been the beneficiaries of that passion.

"It's up to Durham now to manage him well and for him to manage himself so that desire and that passion turns into positive performances.

"If it does, then we've got four great years ahead of us."

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