DURHAM skipper Paul Collingwood is still hopeful of leading his troops into battle next week, writes Gary Foster.
Collingwood is continuing to recover from a freak thumb injury, which saw him in plaster over the winter.
The skipper had hoped to feature in the three-day friendly against Durham University, which started yesterday.
However, after a practice session on Wednesday to see how the injury responded, it was decided not to take any risks.
It’s a case of suck it and see for Collingwood, and both he, head coach Geoff Cook and physio Nigel Kent will continue to monitor the situation.
Durham start their 2013 County Championship campaign at home to Somerset on Wednesday.
Collingwood could leave it until the last minute before deciding whether or not he can take to the field.
He said: “I’ve had it out of the splint for a week and a half now. The thumb is moving around well, although
“I’ve still got a bit of pain in the wrist itself where the tendons are running through.
“Really it’s just about trying to get some work into it and see how it responds.”
Ideally, Collingwood would have liked more practice under his belt before the season curatin raiser.
He admits it has been a frustrating time for him and his players, as they have been unable to get out on the field due to the bad weather.
“I’ve had a couple of hits in the indoor school just like everybody else,” he said.
“It’s been frustrating for everyone, whether they’ve got an injury or not.
“You want to be out in the middle on the grass pitches, with the ball seaming around.
“Hopefully, we can get a bit of work in, but it has been frustrating.”
Despite the lack of outdoor practice, Collingwood has still warned his side that they need to hit the ground running this term.
He added: “You need to get off to a good start because of the amount of games that are in April and May.
“You want to get that momentum going early, and be 100 per cent on the ball right from the start.
“Avoiding relegation was the main aim of last season, and we were able to do that.
“Now is the time to progress and move forward, and play some good, consistent cricket right throughout the season.”
H Ben Stokes hit 111 and Scott Borthwick 99 as Durham scored 426-9 on day one of their warm-up game against Durham MCCU at the Emirites ICG.
Phil Mustard also hit 60 as Durham fought back from 40-3 to get some useful batting practice.