DURHAM’S young guns are standing up to be counted, insists delighted skipper Paul Collingwood, writes Gary Foster.
And the former England all-rounder is calling on them to continue doing so when they face Somerset at Taunton in the County Championship tomorrow.
The men from the Emirates ICG have been unable to recruit an experienced overseas professional this season due to a lack of finances.
And that has led the county to call on the services of younger players.
Thankfully, they have not been found wanting, and four-day captain Collingwood was quick to acknowledge their efforts.
“When we lost Michael Di Venuto, that was a big gap to fill,” he said.
“He guaranteed you more than 1,000 runs per season, and finding someone else who is going to give you that is a very big ask.
“Ideally, we would have liked to have looked to bring someone in from overseas, but the money isn’t there to do that.
“That has probably meant one or two of the younger players are being asked to step in, and that puts a bit more pressure on them.
“But it’s also a chance for them to show what they can do, and they are doing that.”
Collingwood is also pleased that it isn’t just one person who has come to the fore, but a real team effort with runs and wickets being shared out.
He said: “I’m really delighted with how we have done so far. Everyone has put their hand up at some point, and put in a winning performance.”
Durham travel south to Taunton this week to take on Somerset in the LV=County Championships.
Collingwood will be hoping to heap more misery on the hosts tomorrow. Somerset sit seventh in the division one table on 43 points, and have yet to win in the Championship after seven games.
Durham, who sit in fourth on 78.5 points – 35.5 ahead of Somerset, have played a game less, and have won three games and drawn one, losing two.
Collingwood will be without the services of Gareth Breese, who is out with a torn muscle, while young spinner Ryan Buckley and seamer Chris Rushworth come into the 13-man squad.
Durham squad: Paul Collingwood (c), Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Scott Borthwick, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Phil Mustard, Ryan Buckley, Mark Wood, Callum Thorp, Graham Onions, Michael Richardson, Chris Rushworth.