‘Colonel’ out to proof he still cuts the Mustard in Durham benefit year

Phil Mustard bats for Durham Jets
Phil Mustard bats for Durham Jets
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Phil Mustard’s benefit programme bills Durham’s final NatWest T20 Blast game against Derbyshire on July 29 as The Colonel’s Last Stand.

But the 33-year-old wicketkeeper is adamant that there is plenty of life in him yet and having a benefit in the final year of his contract does not mean it’s the end.

As a former captain, Mustard is on the sort of salary which was influential in Durham releasing another ex-skipper, Will Smith, and they are still trying to balance the books.

“I’ll have to see what’s on offer at the end of the season,” said Sunderland-born Mustard. “I would love to play more four-day cricket. That’s what I’m striving to do.

“I still think I’ve got lots of cricket left in me. I’ve never been injured and I’m hitting the ball nicely.”

He lost his place in Durham’s four-day team early last season and Michael Richardson has since retained the gloves, while Stuart Poynter continues to press his claims.

But the Colonel remains one-day skipper Mark Stoneman’s choice as his opening partner and he began the T20 campaign with scores of 64 at Worcester and 46 at Old Trafford.

He became the second batsman to pass 3,000 domestic T20 runs and the first to do it for one county as Darren Stevens’ tally is for Leicestershire and Kent.

After winning two of their first three T20 games, Durham were soundly beaten at Edgbaston and Grace Road last weekend.

But, after slipping to 26-5 in the latter, Mustard and Stoneman put on 180 for the first wicket at the same venue in the Royal London Cup.

“The 50-over game probably suits us better than T20,” said Mustard. “We’ve set out with an aggressive approach in T20 and had some great performances and some very average ones.

“No-one has got a T20 century yet for Durham and I’m aiming to do it this year.

“In the 50-over cup, Rocky (Stoneman) and I can take a bit more time to set a solid base. It worked really well on Sunday.”

It did not work for Durham at Derby on Tuesday, however, and after ending their hectic three-week Midlands tour with a seven-wicket loss, the Jets will welcome a break ahead of Sunday’s Royal London Cup tie against Worcestershire at the Emirates Riverside (11am start).

Notts visit Chester-le-Street on Wednesday (2pm) to end the current burst of 50-over ties. They start again with four more from July 24-August 1.