The Hundred: Glamorgan's Cooke hopes Hundred can raise standard

Chris Cooke plays a shot for Glamorgan
Chris Cooke averages just under 36 with the bat in first class cricket

Glamorgan captain Chris Cooke says it will be good to be taken out of his comfort zone playing for Birmingham Phoenix in the new Hundred competition.

"It's exciting to play alongside (New Zealand batsman) Kane Williamson and learn off him," said Cooke.

"It's nice being out of your comfort zone and going somewhere new, seeing if that can raise your game."

Cooke is one of just three Glamorgan players involved, with only Colin Ingram selected by Welsh Fire.

The eight-franchise tournament, beginning in 2020, also sees Glamorgan fast bowler Marchant de Lange line up for Manchester Originals, while the rest of the county's squad will be involved in the 50-overs One-Day Cup competition being played by the traditional county sides at the same time.

Wicket-keeper/batsman Cooke, 33, is approaching his 10th season with Glamorgan, having made his first-class debut for Western Province in his native South Africa.

He will now line up alongside England all-rounders Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali for the Midlands team coached by Andrew McDonald, the Australia assistant coach.

"It'll be strange (playing for Birmingham in Cardiff) and I'll probably walk into the home dressing room out of habit, but we've got to look at it as a whole new entity and a different competition, and I'll be playing against Welsh Fire, not Glamorgan," he told BBC Sport.

Cooke was picked as the first name in the final round of the draft, an experience he describes as "nerve-wracking and not at all enjoyable", though it later emerged he would also have been selected by Welsh Fire at that stage of the televised event.

He admits that it would have been easier from a family perspective to remain based in Cardiff, with his wife Nic having just given birth to their second girl.

"My wife would have enjoyed me being more local, and I would have known the conditions here (at Sophia Gardens), and that's always an advantage," said Cooke.

"Glamorgan and Cardiff are my second home, and it will be strange going to a different team, but you've got to see it as having nothing to do with county cricket."

Risk worth taking

"The ECB thought it was a risk worth taking, l think it will bring in new audiences with the best players in the world here. I know a lot of kids and their parents are looking forward to it, and here in Cardiff you've got (Australians) Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc and (England's) Jonny Bairstow.

"So everyone needs to keep an open mind and not get too down about it."

The tournament starts on 17 July, 2020, although the new squads are not likely to assemble until the week before it starts because of most players' commitments to the existing T20 Blast.

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