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James Franklin appointed as Daniel Vettori's assistant at Birmingham Phoenix

Durham head coach will be unavailable during county's Royal London Cup campaign

George Dobell
George Dobell
James Franklin is Durham's head coach  •  Getty Images

James Franklin is Durham's head coach  •  Getty Images

James Franklin has been appointed as an assistant coach of Birmingham Phoenix, the men's Hundred side based at Edgbaston.
Franklin, the Durham first team coach, will form part of a New Zealand-influenced coaching team for the Phoenix after the ECB confirmed that Daniel Vettori will stand in for Andrew McDonald as head coach. Alex Gidman, the head coach at Worcestershire, has previously been confirmed as the Phoenix's other assistant coach.
With the Hundred team connected to Durham being Northern Superchargers, Franklin might have been expected to have a role there. But, as former New Zealand team-mates who also worked together at Middlesex, Vettori and Franklin know each other well and will link up once more.
Franklin's involvement with the side means he will be unavailable for Durham during the Royal London Cup. Neil Killeen, Franklin's assistant coach, has also been appointed as the Superchargers' assistant for the Hundred.
Meanwhile, Ben Sawyer has committed to his role as head coach of the women's side at the Phoenix with Caroline Foster (née Atkins), Dominic Ostler and Gareth Davies as his assistants. Ostler and Davies currently coach the Warwickshire and Worcestershire women's sides respectively, while Foster won the Ashes, the World Cup and the World T20 in a long playing career with England.
"Ben is a fantastic coach who has experience around the world," she said. "I can't wait to work with him and the players ahead of what is an incredibly exciting moment not just for Birmingham Phoenix but for women's cricket as a whole."
McDonald is unavailable due to his commitments as assistant coach of the Australia side and difficulties travelling in the time of Covid. He remains involved - albeit at a distance - in a consultancy capacity and is, at present, expected to resume the head coaching role in 2022.
"It was a really hard decision not to travel over this summer and I'm extremely sad that I won't be there in person to coach the team," McDonald said. "I'll be doing everything I can to give advice and support to Daniel and his team and I'm already looking forward to playing a role in person next season."
Vettori has previously coached RCB in the IPL, Brisbane Heat in the BBL and Middlesex in the Blast, and most recently worked as a spin consultant for Bangladesh. "We'll continue to communicate regularly and Andrew's advice will be vital to our success," he said. "Our squad looks really strong and we want to build a winning team and hopefully bring the Hundred trophy to Birmingham."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo