A Notts man through-and-through, Paul Franks has spent his whole career at Trent Bridge, with over two decades as a player and now a coach. He made his debut as a teenager and went on to play more than 400 times for the County, featured in two County Championship winning sides and was capped by England.
Paul John Franks was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield on 3 February 1979. He attended the Minster School in Southwell and played his junior cricket at Farnsfield Cricket Club, where he has returned and still plays occasionally. A right arm pace bowler, who batted left-handed, Franks developed rapidly and made his First-Class debut for Nottinghamshire as a seventeen-year-old in the final Championship match of 1996 against Hampshire at Southampton. He followed this by appearing for England Under-19s at Test and One-Day International level during the winter series against Pakistan Under-19s.
Franks soon established himself in the Nottinghamshire List-A and County Championship sides and bagged a hat-trick against Warwickshire at Trent Bridge in 1997, the County’s first for a decade. He became a regular over the next two years for England Under-19s, playing in eight Tests and 15 one-dayers at that level. Franks played in all of England’s matches in the Under-19s World Cup in 1997/98 and became a World Cup winner as vice-captain of the side which lifted the trophy in the final against New Zealand in Johannesburg.
1999 was a standout season for Franks. His 63 First-Class wickets and another 23 in List-A cricket saw him capped by the County and propelled him into the reckoning for full England honours. He toured Bangladesh and New Zealand with England A during the winter and in 2000 was selected as part of the squad for the home One-Day International tri-series with West Indies and Zimbabwe. He was capped by England in July 2000 against West Indies, appropriately at his home ground of Trent Bridge. The season ended on another high when Franks was named the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year for 2000.
Franks appeared to be destined for further International honours but a period out of the game with a serious knee injury saw him miss much of the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He returned to re-establish himself in the County XI and was part of the squad which secured the 2005 County Championship title. For England, he toured again with England A but was never given the opportunity to add to his single full England cap.
In 2010 Paul Franks was again part of a Nottinghamshire County Championship winning side. He played a full part in the success, starting in all but one of the 16 matches, contributing 651 runs and 41 wickets in Championship matches, second only to Andre Adams as a wicket-taker during that title winning season.
Franks played his last matches for the Notts first eleven in 2013. In a career spanning 18 seasons, he played in 198 First-Class, 169 List-A and 44 T20 matches. His 483 First-Class wickets put him in the top 30 all-time wicket-takers for the County. On 10 occasions, he claimed five wickets in an innings with 7-56 against Middlesex in 2000 being his best figures. Franks was very much an all-rounder and although he usually batted at number 8, he sometimes opened the innings for the County. He amassed 6,810 runs, including 41 fifties and 4 centuries, with his highest score of 123 not out coming at Leicester in 2003. In all formats, Franks scored 8,972 runs and took 679 wickets in 411 starts for Nottinghamshire. His fierce commitment to the Nottinghamshire cause was always there for all to see. His own words on retirement from First-Class cricket summed up his approach: “Playing for Nottinghamshire in First-Class cricket has meant an enormous amount to me. The shirt and the cap really matter.”
His commitment to Nottinghamshire continued as Franks became captain and coach of the Second Eleven in 2013, helping to nurture young talent and leading the side to the Second Eleven Trophy in 2015. The previous winter he gained experience of coaching at International level, joining the coaching team of UAE for the 2015 World Cup in Australasia and assuming the role of interim head coach during their tour of UK in 2016. Further recognition of his growing standing as a coach came in late 2016 when he stepped up into Peter Moores’ senior coaching team as Assistant Head Coach of Nottinghamshire. Almost immediately, Franks tasted success in this role as the Outlaws won two one-day trophies in 2017.
Paul Franks – ‘The General’ as he is known – enjoyed an outstanding playing career with Nottinghamshire and but for serious injuries may well have featured more often for his country. With his coaching career continuing to develop successfully, Franks continues to be a key part of the team at the County that is clearly so dear to his heart.
His father John, who played for Midlands Schoolboys in the 1950s also played his club cricket for Farnsfield.