Stephen Cook: Durham's Jon Lewis excited by South Africa batsman's qualities

Stephen Cook
Stephen Cook has scored Test centuries against England, Australia and Sri Lanka

South Africa batsman Stephen Cook will bring mental toughness to Durham's batting order during his Riverside stint, says head coach Jon Lewis.

Cook, 34, will appear for Durham as an overseas player before he is likely to join up with his country for their Test series with England in July.

Durham lost top-order batsman Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick to Surrey at the end of 2016.

"He's got some old school opening batting qualities," Lewis said.

He told BBC Newcastle: "He loves to bat long, he's got a real appetite for scoring runs. When he gets in, he goes big.

"In just nine Tests he's already got three hundreds against three different nations, home or away so he adapts well. His mental strength is one of the major facets of his game."

Late bloomer at Test level

Stephen Cook
Stephen Cook is following in father Jimmy Cook's footsteps by playing county cricket in England

Cook's journey to Test cricket was a long one, having played 16 years in the domestic game before his debut.

He became only the sixth South African to make a century in his maiden Test when he scored 115 against England in January 2016.

"Mike Hussey (Australia batsman who made his debut at the age of 30) was quite late in his career before he got a look in and made the most of it," Lewis said.

"Stephen was well into his thirties, he worked really hard to get into that side and wants to continue with that for a while yet.

"We've got him for the first part of the summer. There's the England v South Africa series from July so he should be selected, but we should see him for the first part of the summer without interruptions."

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