DURHAM must continue to stand up and be counted – that is the message from coach Jon Lewis ahead of tonight’s home Friends Life T20 clash with Yorkshire.
The Dynamos go into the encounter against the Vikings buoyed by yesterday’s comprehensive LV County Championship victory over Derbyshire.
But the squad is once again without a number of key players for tonight’s clash (5.30pm start) – Paul Collingwood, Dale Benkenstein and Graham Onions all miss out as Durham chase a win to resurrect hopes of a quarter-final place.
And Lewis, standing in for head coach Geoff Cook, who continues to recover from a heart attack, says the players must continue to show what they have got in the absence of such star names.
“The squad is working very hard,” insisted Lewis. “The players who are available are having to put their hands up in all competitions, and that will continue to be the case for a little while now.
“Paul Collingwood (lacerated thumb) isn’t going to be ready for this weekend, Dale is out for some time, and Onions isn’t going to be available for the weekend either.
“It isn’t easy for the players who are left, but it is what it is and we need to just deal with it best we can.”
Lewis was full of praise for the way Durham’s young guns have answered the call this term, with the county unable to add to their squad due to financial woes.
That was far from ideal, but Lewis feels it may have benefited the squad.
“The say necessity is the mother of invention,” he added.
“We have been forced down this path, but actually down this path is working out OK for us.
“The finances are dictating quite a bit in terms of the size of the squad.
“Now we have got to get these young guys playing, well not just playing, but winning games.
“There’s no point just picking guys so they can play, they need to put their hands up when they do play, and that’s been the impressive bit, everyone who has come in has been making contributions towards wins, not just being taken along for the ride.”
Despite not playing in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, England have informed Durham that seamer Graham Onions will remain with the squad until at least the start of the second Test.
That means he misses both tonight’s clash with Yorkshire, and Sunday’s T20 match away to Lancashire, which Lewis admits is a blow, although the Vikings are in the same boat.
He added: “We got an email from England saying Graham would be staying with the squad as would be Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), so for tonight’s game it’s six and two threes. We won’t have Graham and they won’t have Tim.”
Durham squad: Mark Stoneman, Phil Mustard, Scott Borthwick, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Gordon Muchall, Michael Richardson, Gareth Breese, Ryan Pringle, Mark Wood, Chris Rushworth, Callum Thorp, Keaton Jennings.