Paul Coughlin has re-signed for Durham after his two-year spell at Nottinghamshire was blighted by a series of injuries that limited his to ten appearances for the club.
Coughlin, 27, captained Durham’s T20 side in 2017 and was part of the England Lions squad the following spring, but he found himself considering giving up the game altogether during his time on the sidelines, and will return to his boyhood club for the 2020 season.
“I would like to thank Mick [Newell], Peter [Moores] and the club for their understanding,” said Coughlin.
“Unfortunately, I suffered a couple of serious injuries while at Notts which meant I spent most of the last two years with the physio James Pipe and undergoing rehab with Liam Price [the club’s strength and conditioning coach]. I am very grateful for all the work they did with me.
“During these periods of injury, I questioned whether I even wanted to continue playing cricket professionally.
“The support I received from Notts during this period was excellent and I am disappointed I was unable to repay them with performances on the field. However, for personal reasons I felt I needed a fresh start. I am very excited to be returning home to Durham and I hope this move will help me get my career back on track.”
Coughlin’s departure at the end of the 2017 season was controversial, and led Sir Ian Botham, Durham’s president, to call for a football-style compensation system whereby clubs are rewarded financially for developing young players.
But after dislocating his right shoulder diving in the field during a Lions game in Antigua, Coughlin did not bowl for the first team in 2018, playing three T20s as a specialist batsmen.
He continued his rehabilitation with a spell playing in the Everest Premier League in Nepal, but broke a finger on his Championship debut in April, and then suffered a serious hamstring strain in his first 50-over game for the club in May.
He returned to fitness in time to play four late-season Championship games, but ended the campaign with a batting average of 23.85 and 11 wickets at 48.18.
“Paul’s time with us was blighted by injury to an extent that nobody could have predicted,” said Moores, Nottinghamshire’s coach.
“It was really unfortunate, of course for him because he was desperate to get going, and also for the club because he was set to be a big signing for us, at an important time having lost a number of senior players at the back end of 2017.
“The desire he showed to get back playing and the way he approached his rehab was second to none. He became a hugely popular person within the group and someone everyone was desperate to see get the success his effort and talent deserved.
“Hopefully now, back at Durham, he can put his injury woes behind him and play some good cricket for them.”
Marcus North, Durham’s director of cricket said: “We are delighted that this opportunity has presented itself for Durham to bring one of its home-grown players back to the club.
“Paul is an outstanding all-round player who will add quality to the Durham squad in all formats. We are all excited to welcome him back at the club following two years away and look forward to Paul having a huge impact here at the Emirates Riverside.”