When it was announced that Somerset had signed Tasmanian top order batsman Jamie Cox to become their captain for the 1999 season, supporters were unsure what to expect as he was little known outside of Australia where he had an impressive record in domestic cricket.
However, when Cox did arrive to take up his post ahead of the season, it was quickly apparent that Somerset had made another very shrewd signing from Down Under.
The 29 year old immediately brought that Aussie determination and confidence, yet not in a brash hard nosed way.
Cox was an immediate success and quickly won the hearts of the County Ground faithful who were growing ever hungrier for success. He led Somerset to a very respectable fourth place in the County Championship and took the county back to Lord’s for their first one-day final since 1983, although they were beaten by the old foe Gloucestershire .
During that season Cox scored 1617 runs in the County Championship at 57.75, with six centuries and a best of 216. He was well supported on the batting front by wicket-keeper Rob Turner who hit 1217 at 52.91, Peter Bowler who made 931, Mike Burns 915 and Marcus Trescothick 898, which included 197 against Glamorgan in front of future England coach Duncan Fletcher.
Two season’s later Cox had melded his side together and added that magical leadership quality that ended with him lifting the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy at Lord’s.
The following year Somerset were back at Lord’s in the 2002 C&G final but on this occasion were beaten by Yorkshire. Cox stayed for a further two years and left the supporters something to remember him by – that special day in late summer 2001.
Between 1999 and 2004 the quiet and charming Tasmanian played in 91 first class matches in which he scored 6688 runs at 47.43, including 17 centuries and a best of 250 against Nottinghamshire.
Cox topped 1000 runs in a season four times and his best season was in 1999 when he hit 1617. He also played in 110 List A matches in which he scored 3598 runs.