PLAYING father figure to Middlesex’s next Steven Finn is proving a thrill not a chore to Corey Collymore.
The former West Indies quick bowler has enjoyed increasingly rare moments in the spotlight the last few weeks amid something of an injury crisis at the tenants of Lord’s, but knows his main task these days is to mentor the next generation of fast bowlers as skipper of the county’s second XI.
To other men with 93 test wickets to their name and a bigger ego than the 35-year-old Barbadian, the thought of spending the twilight of your career in front of a handful of die-hards with lads not born when you started out half a lifetime ago would not appeal.
Refreshingly, Collymore is a different breed and not built that way.
A man mentored through his formative years by Vasbert Drakes back home and then greats like Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh as a Test rookie, simply considers it his turn and an honour to repay the compliment.
He said: "I think it is my job to raise the younger guys as we say back at home in Barbados. I relish the chance to have a word in the ear of the young ones. People always talk about giving back to the game and it is not just a matter of giving back in your own home town or country. Giving back means wherever you are and to whoever is around you.
"The knowledge Vasbert, Courtney and Curtly passed on to me I can pass on to other people because that is what it is all about. So if I can help Gurjit (Sandhu) or Harry (Podmore) or Tom Helm to become another good or even great Middlesex and England fast bowler then so be it."
Sandhu – currently injured – Helm and Podmore, like Finn before them have all come through the Middlesex Academy at Finchley and according to Collymore each have great potential.
However, at 21 (Sandhu), just turned 19 (Helm) and 18 (Podmore), their mentor adds a word of caution, pointing out graduation to the first team squad does not mean their education in the game is over.
In fact, according to Collymore the education never stops.
He added: "All three are very skilful for their age, but they are still young to cricket. You can have all the skills but there is still a process of learning about every ground you play at, every wicket you play on, every batsman you come up against.
"Trying to learn the art of bowling and sticking to the basics it is a long way off because even myself I am still learning and I think even Steve Finn would tell you the same thing. Tim Murtagh too, as good as he is might tell you the same thing."