Dominic Gerald Cork
August 07, 1971, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
St Joseph's College, Stoke-on-Trent; Newcastle College
Dominic Cork, desperate to keep up with his two elder cricket-playing brothers, grew up to be a showman. The bigger the stage, the better he has performed - provided the stage is in England, for he has had little success abroad except in South Africa in 1995-96. Since then he has lost the sting in his outswinger and become a seam-and-swing bowler for English conditions, bowling wicket to wicket, and launching into well-choreographed appeals for LBW. On the biggest stage in England, at Lord's, Cork took his best Test bowling figures of 7 for 43 in 1995, and played his most famous innings, in 2000, on both occasions against West Indies. His strength was his ability to move the ball late, although he suffered when he tried to bowl too fast, while his batting always promised more than it delivered.
The great promise he showed in those two series against West Indies was undermined by injury and off-the-field personal problems which prevented him ever becoming a fixture in the side. There were also accusations that he didn't always try as hard as he might - Geoff Boycott described him as a "show pony" during the 1996-97 tour of New Zealand. He was handed the captaincy of Derbyshire in 1999, and while he initially responded to a far from easy task with enthusiasm, reports of disharmony began to emerge and Cork appeared increasingly at odds with the management It culminated in Cork buying his way out of his contract at the end of the 2003 season, and he subsequently joined Lancashire.
Although he tried hard, he failed to really hit the heights expected of him during his first season at his new county, but played a vital role in Lancashire's promotion back to division one in 2005 with 43 wickets and 540 runs. He was never far away from the action during Lancashire's push for trophies and was involved in two near misses. The first came against Sussex in the 2006 C&G final and he was last-man out as Lancashire nearly pulled off an extraordinary run chase at the end of the 2007 Championship campaign. Despite being a regular in the four-day team he was released before the end of the season and found a new home at Hampshire.
It was another action-packed era of Cork's career during which he was elevated to captain and led Hampshire to a dramatic Twenty20 title in 2010 when they beat Somerset by losing few wickets on their home ground. The following summer the team reached Finals Day again and Cork was at the centre of more drama as he conceded just three from his final over against Somerset to secure a Super Over. Ultimately, Somerset prevailed and it proved a final hurrah for Cork who was released shortly before the season ended. Was it the end?
ESPNcricinfo staff September 2011
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