August 12, 2001

Cox and Dutch happy at Somerset


Somerset are celebrating a great weekend. Following the drama of their C & G semi-final victory over Warwickshire, they have been further boosted by the news that captain and talisman Jamie Cox is likely to extend his contract with the club.

Cox's current three-year deal expires at the end of this season, and there has been speculation that he may not return. But, buoyed by the improvement in Somerset's cricket and the amiable atmosphere in the dressing room, Cox has suggested that he will be back.

"I think I will be around next year," Cox admitted. "I haven't quite finalised everything yet but I want to come back. I just have a few personal things to sort out. This time next year I'm going to have a six-month-old baby.

"There's a few things I need to sort out in my mind but my wife loves it around here as much as I do. Let's just say that if anyone was a betting man, I think I'd say to them 'put money on the fact I'll be back next year'.

"I am not sure how long it will be for and I don't know if I could quite stay another three years but these are exciting times at Somerset and I want to help them win some trophies."

Somerset are enjoying another good season under Cox. Through to a Lord's final and on course for a best ever position of second in the CricInfo Championship, Cox has fostered an admirable tea spirit at Taunton.

But Cox himself hasn't quite reached the heights of past seasons. Although averaging a respectable 44, he has yet to hit a century and admits to disappointment in his own performance.

"I haven't asked for a salary increase. I don't think I deserve that. I don't think I've personally played well enough to have one. What I want to do next year is come back and return to the kind of run glut I like to be in.

"This season has been disappointing because I have actually felt really good at the crease. I've had so many starts, got 20s and 30s on the board, and not gone on. I've not made a hundred this year. It's been frustrating."

Meanwhile, Somerset's man of the match hero, Keith Dutch, has revealed that he was close to leaving the game after Middlesex released him at the end of the 2000 season.

"It was probably half and half with me over whether to give up the game when I was released by Middlesex," Dutch admitted. "I was actually asked if I was interested in going on the coaching staff at Middlesex because I'd done a lot of that work with the youth side of things.

"But I decided to give it one more year somewhere and if I couldn't prove to myself or prove to anyone else then that would be enough."

And Dutch is clearly relishing the prospect of returning to Lord's in a major game and showing some of his doubters how wrong they were.

"I came to Somerset on a two-year contract but we said let's see what happens after one year. Either they or I would know whether I should carry on. Now I've helped us reach a Lord's final and it will be great to go back to the place where I was supposed to have not made the grade.

"It was not really a surprise when I was released. In my eyes I was not given enough opportunity to prove my worth. It was a crunch time in my career."