Cricket: Mouth-watering offer from Cook

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The Independent Online
JIMMY COOK, the prolific South African opening batsman, is ready to make a return to English county cricket. Cook, who will be 39 at the end of this month, has told Somerset that he will be available to play for them next season.

Cook scored more than 10,000 runs for Somerset in all competitions during his three years with them from 1989 to 1991. Currently on a 10-match tour here with Transvaal, Cook marked his arrival by scoring an unbeaten century at Edgbaston on Sunday in the eight- wicket win over Warwickshire. He then reminded Somerset of his class when scoring 43 not out off as many balls in the 55-over friendly at Taunton yesterday. Rain had the last word, though, Transvaal chasing 261 and on 60 without loss when the match was abandoned.

Richard Snell, a seam bowler who also hails from the Transvaal, is Somerset's overseas player for this season and Cook said: 'If Richard wants to return next year I wouldn't stand in his way. Otherwise I would love to come back.'

Tom Moody returns to the Worcestershire squad for the Championship match against Nottinghamshire starting at Trent Bridge today. The Australian batsman has played in only two Sunday matches since damaging ankle ligaments against Glamorgan four weeks ago.

Moody will appear in only four more Championship games before completing a two-year contract at the end of this month. He will then join the Australian party preparing for a tour of Sri Lanka in August.

Sachin Tendulkar is set to miss his first match since joining Yorkshire. The Indian has a back strain and is extremely doubtful for the fixture with Warwickshire at Sheffield. Ashley Metcalfe stands by.

Hampshire, meanwhile, report for duty against Derbyshire at Portsmouth having struck gold in the Benson and Hedges Cup final. The 41-run win over Kent at the weekend was worth pounds 27,500 to the county, who have accumulated pounds 33,275 in winnings so far this season. That figure means Hampshire have earned only pounds 1,100 less to date than they managed all last summer.

The biggest prize of all, though, awaits the eventual county champions. Here, Essex enjoy a 19- point advantage over Hampshire in the chase for the pounds 46,000 first prize and will be looking to extend their lead when they take on Gloucestershire, second from bottom in the table, at Southend.

Australian tour itinerary,

Sport in Short, page 29

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