Paul John Franks
February 03, 1979, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Left hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Minster School, Southwell
Paul Franks' sterling service for Nottinghamshire officially ended when he retired at the end of the 2015 season. He had been playing senior cricket for Notts since 1996, an inspiring example of a one-county professional. At 36, it was time to concentrate on a coaching role for the 2nd XI that was first signalled when Notts appointed him 2nd XI captain in 2014.
Franks was held in enough esteem for his No 8 shirt to be formally handed over, football style, to Stuart Broad. Mick Newell, Notts' director of cricket and a former team-mate, extolled his "huge contribution" since he led the county's attack at a young age. He took 792 wickets for his county, won the County Championship twice and played for England once, against the West Indies in a one day international at Trent Bridge in 2000. He was unfortunate that more ODI caps did not fall his way and regretted not having a run in the side to prove his worth.
One of Franks' most outstanding achievement for Notts came in 1997, his first full season, when he took the county's first hat-trick for a decade. The following February he became a World Cup winner, vice-captain and influential performer in the England Under-19 side defeat their New Zealand counterparts in the final in Johannesburg.
A year later he was called up as a replacement for the England A team in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and was selected in his own right for the following winter's A tour to Bangladesh and New Zealand. Having previously attended the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai under the guidance of Dennis Lillee, he was in the provisional squad to attend the 2002-03 ECB National Academy in Australia but did not make the final cut.
Injury struck at exactly the wrong time. An intelligent, thoughtful fast-medium bowler who could make serious contributions with the bat, his international recognition had come on his home ground in a year when he was elected Young Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers' Club. However he missed much of the 2001 season with a knee injury and did not reappear until midway through the 2002 season by which time he had fallen a long way down the pecking order. A poor 2003 season further hampered his chances of a recall and gradually he slipped from view.
Injuries and fluctuating form dogged Franks for a number of years but he remained a committed member of the Nottinghamshire squad, bowling at a lively medium pace and contributing useful runs in a number of positions, sometimes opening but more often at No 8. A member of the title-winning sides in 2005 and 2010 (opening the batting for a while in the latter success), he was told during the 2012 season that Nottinghamshire would allow him to talk to other counties but said he would prefer to fight for his place at Trent Bridge. In 2014, he was made captain of the 2nd XI but again saw no reason to call time on his first-class career. He got used to not playing slowly as he committed himself to a coaching future.
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