Mustard confident Durham can save season

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DURHAM star Phil Mustard insists they can still save their County Championship season ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Sussex at Arundel (11am start).

Mustard was axed as four-day captain with Durham languishing at the foot of the Division One table, but neither he nor his team-mates are entertaining the thought of throwing in the towel.

He said: “We are all aware of what we need to do, and with the squad we have, we feel we are more than capable of doing it.

“Results have been disappointing, but there are some very good cricketers in the squad. We know what we are capable of, we just have to start showing it.

“We can’t hide from where we are in the table, and no one is trying to. We are all determined to turn things around.”

That might be something of an understatement with Geoff Cook’s men staring at relegation to Division Two.

Durham sit bottom of the table with just 43 points – six less than Worcestershire, who are a place above them in the table, and 40 points off tomorrow’s opponents Sussex.

Sussex have managed just two County Championship wins all season, but it is two more than a Durham side, who have lost over 19 days play to rain in what has been a non-existent British summer.

With relegation staring them in the face, county bosses decided to act.

That meant Paul Collingwood (pictured) replaced Mustard as four-day captain, and the new man at the helm is set to lead his out for the first time in a championship game.

The ex-England all-rounder had been due to skipper the side in their rain-affected draw away to Worcestershire.

Dale Benkenstein took temporary charge of that game, and Durham got on top after a superb bowling performance, but again the weather intervened.

Having played in Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat away to Hampshire, Collingwood is ready to get back in action after more than a month out with a broken hand.

The new four-day captain isn’t planning any radical changes, but insists there are still things that can be done to change Durham’s fortunes.

“There are little things we can work on and plans we can implement,” Collingwood said. “We know what we want to try to do, and it’s all about make sure we give ourselves the best possible chance.

“I’m very excited by the challenge ahead and looking forward to getting my teeth into it.”