Franks ready for new Notts challenge
Whilst the return of the Specsavers County Championship will produce a buzz of excitement up and down the country this week, few are looking forward to it as much as Nottinghamshire’s Paul Franks, writes Dave Bracegirdle.
With 215 first class matches behind him Franks, who is from Mansfield, has made a smooth transition into the coaching set-up at Trent Bridge and after a couple of years with the Seconds, he returns to the First Team dressing room as assistant to Head Coach Peter Moores.
For a man that sleeps and breathes Nottinghamshire cricket, he can’t wait to get going in his new role.
“Nothing has changed since that first game in 1997,” he said. “I started my first season then as a player and I’m starting my first season now as assistant coach to the first team. I’ll try and be calm because it’s my responsibility to be calm but inside I’ll be ticking along nicely and wishing all the boys all the very best.”
When Moores was handed responsibility of First Team affairs in October he quickly sought the promotion of the county stalwart and Franks believes they’ve come a long way in a short time.
“We spent a lot of time together over the winter,” he reflected. “Certainly, since the announcement came and he said that he wanted me to be his right-hand man we’ve spent a lot of time together at work and socially, getting to know each other on a level where we can be forthright and frank when we need to and also be relaxed and enjoy each other’s company, so I’d like to think there’s a good friendship building there.
“We’ve actually known each other for a long time, he was my England A coach back in 1999, so we’ve got some history together. I think we share good values but we’re not afraid to tell each other what we think.”
Known for speaking his mind, Franks has a simple message for the Nottinghamshire players. “I expect a shift, I’m slightly old school in that fashion. I grew up in an era when you had to put in every day and come back the next day and do it again.
“So that’s my mantra to the lads, I’m not going to be too harsh or too critical if we’re being out-performed, for instance, but if I see our attitude start to drift and I don’t see a desire to play for the shirt and what that means and the cap and what that means, then it’s going to really hurt me.”
For a proud man like Franks, a recent incident hurt him. Every former England player was invited to a celebration dinner at Lord’s in February, yet the 38-year old didn’t receive his invitation, despite having played a One Day International on his home ground against West Indies in 2000.
“It did upset me, I won’t lie,” he revealed. “Andrew (Strauss) has contacted me since and assured me it was a mishap and that they’d sent an invitation to a previous address.
“I think the disappointing thing from my point of view was that it had been in the planning for a year, so within reason I’d have expected them to contact me. It’s not like I’ve disappeared as I’ve been at the same county for 20 years and I’d like to have thought that there would have been enough about the organisation to have been able to find me but it wasn’t to be and I can’t do anything about it now.
“There had been correspondence with the other England players at Notts. Harry (Gurney) had spoken to me about it – about whether I was going and I mentioned to him that I hadn’t had an invite. I wasn’t about to invite myself – I’m proud enough not to have done that.
“I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve played for England – even more proud of the fact that I’ve played at Trent Bridge and nobody will ever take that away from me.”
Apart from missing out, both on the dinner and the celebratory photographs, Franks wasn’t present to receive the special commemorative cap that was given to everyone who attended.
“I’ve been assured that I will get what everyone else did but nothings arrived yet,” he stated. “When it does arrive I’ll be sure to let everyone know and we’ll move on.”
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