Two days into a preseason tour to Zimbabwe, James Franklin knew his second season coaching Durham would be nothing like the first.
Franklin, the Black Caps all-rounder who played 179 internationals, moved his wife and three children to London to join Middlesex five years ago.
Last season the 39-year-old Wellingtonian jumped at Durham's offer to transition straight into his first head coaching role, working under former Australian batsman Marcus North.
In doing so, Franklin extended a Kiwi connection at the Riverside Ground which includes stints from fellow Black Caps BJ Watling, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris and Paul Wiseman.
In Franklin's first season at Chester-le-Street, Durham fell just short of promotion from the County Championship second division, despite winning eight games in a row.
It was a similar story in the one-day and Twenty20 formats, where the club progressed but ultimately failed to qualify for the finals.
Solid winter preparations had Franklin enthused about his side's ability to kick on this season, which was scheduled to start on Easter Sunday.
But when he left for Zimbabwe in early March, on what was supposed to be a three-week tour, Franklin quickly realised cricket would take a backseat to the global coronavirus pandemic.
"I travelled out a couple of days before to make sure everything was alright on the ground and on the way there I was thinking 'I'm not too sure about this'," Franklin said from his home in Newcastle. "I had a discussion with the bosses at Durham and we decided to see how it panned out.
"We'd only been in Zimbabwe for a couple of days and we made a decision to turn around and go back. You felt a world away from it there a couple of weeks ago. It was beautiful and the boys didn't want to come back, but we knew we had to.
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"In the end by the time the guys arrived, we literally went out to Zimbabwe to have a net and then turned around to come back.
"We weren't the only ones. There were a number of counties who called their preseason trips off before going and a number who were forced into similar U-turns."
With all professional cricket in England since postponed until at least May 28, Franklin and the majority of Durham staff have been furloughed under the UK government's bailout scheme which protects 80 per cent of wages.
Durham have topped up the remaining 20 per cent and offered their home ground to national health workers.
"The club have been brilliant in that regard. It just means for the next few weeks we legally can't work. Hopefully, we get a call in three or four weeks to say you're off furlough and you can get going again but we'll wait and see.
"There's a lot of help and support going on at this time of need for everyone."
Each passing day in lockdown extends uncertainty shrouding the resumption of all sport.
As the season threatens to slip away, the English Cricket Board is expected to prioritise the most profitable versions of the game – internationals, Twenty20 and the 100-ball competition which is due for its inaugural campaign.
Former England captain Alastair Cook recently advocated scrapping this season's longer format entirely if there is not enough time for a meaningful County Championship.
Franklin remains hopeful, yet realistic, a congested season can get underway by late June, early July.
Bowlers alone will need four-to-six weeks to build workloads and conditioning to professional levels again.
"You could play into mid-October. Whether that's something they'll look at, I don't know," Franklin said. "The ECB are coming up with different scenarios for different timings depending when they can start.
"I've had some discussions with mates involved in cricket back in New Zealand and Australia and I'd rather be in their shoes because at least they're kind of ready for a break.
"The biggest frustration for the players here is they've worked so hard and they're all ready to go right across the country but we've got a big stop sign in front of us so we're left twiddling our thumbs."
After positive signs in his first season at the helm, Durham extended Franklin's contract through to the end of the 2021 season.
For now Franklin is content building his coaching experience in northern England but, in time, he holds aspirations to assume a national post.
"You've got to be relatively fluid and open-minded in this occupation. Similar to playing, nothing lasts forever.
"I'm lucky that my wife is open to moving. Obviously you get to a point where you want to have a more solid base but our oldest is 11 so we're still at a point for the next couple of years we can be open.
"I'd love to one day coach an international team or do some franchise cricket but I'm also realistic that I'm at the start of my coaching career. I've been very lucky to fall straight into the role with the county – most coaches have to work through a system and earn experience.
"Hopefully I can help Durham compete and win trophies and then everything else takes care of itself. I'd love to coach for the next 15 to 20 years. It's very much a second career."