Chris Rogers skippered Somerset to within a hairs breadth of their first county championship in 2016    Getty Images
Chris Rogers skippered Somerset to within a hairs breadth of their first county championship in 2016 Getty Images

London: Former Australian Test opener Chris Rogers is to return to English county championship side Somerset as both batting coach and player mentor for three months. The 39-year-old – who played 25 Tests scoring five centuries of which four were against England – skippered Somerset to within a hairs breadth of their first county championship in 2016 – only to be denied by Middlesex. Rogers – whose contract with Somerset runs from March to June subject to his being granted a work visa – retired as a player after that narrow miss. “Chris made a massive impact both on and off the field last year,” said Somerset director of cricket Matt Maynard. “He was a huge part of what we achieved in the summer and was by far the outstanding candidate for the position. It goes without saying that we are delighted he will be working with us again in 2017.”

Earlier, South Africa opening batsman Stephen Cook is to play for Durham in the first half of the 2017 English season, the northeast county announced Monday. Cook, 34, who made a century on his Test debut against England at Centurion in 2016, has since gone on to establish himself at the top of the Proteas order.

Now he will be available for the early rounds of Durham s campaign in the second division of English cricket s first-class County Championship following their controversial relegation last season. Cook will also play in the domestic One-Day Cup ahead of what is expected to be his call-up to the South Africa squad for the Test section of their tour of England in July and August.