THERE will be no old pals act from Paul Collingwood after he took over the four-day captaincy at Durham.
Collingwood took over the reins last week, and has already laid out how he wants to approach his time at the helm – and at the moment his pal and former Ashes team-mate Steve Harmison doesn’t figure in those plans.
In fact, the former world No 1 is so far down the pecking order that he has been loaned out Yorkshire for a month to allow him to get some first-team cricket under his belt.
It remains to be seen whether a spell with the Tykes can help the fast-bowler get back into the Durham reckoning, but for now it seems he is not what Collingwood is looking for.
Head coach Geoff Cook explained: “Paul took over the captaincy last week, and he said to the group the way he’s looking to move forward is for the bowlers all to show control as their main feature.
“That would give licence to people like Onions, Thorp and Rushworth – that type of bowler, who can apply pressure over a period of time. Stephen’s a bit more of an attacking bowler, a bit more of an x-factor, so he wasn’t going to feature in the plans.
“He wanted to get some cricket and Yorkshire actually approached us about three weeks ago on the principle of getting one of our bowlers on loan. They followed it up a couple of days ago. We gave them one or two options and Stephen was their choice.
“The last few (Championship) games against Warwickshire and Lancashire, I thought there were some good signs there. He did some really positive stuff. But with the make-up of the attack Paul wants to go with there’s no room for him.“
“He’s got to be playing some cricket and getting him in involved in the Yorkshire set-up is good for him.”
Durham rounded off their Twenty20 campaign against Lancashire Lightning yesterday, tying the game in dramatic fashion – Gareth Breese being run out on the last ball with one run required for the win.
But in the end it made little difference, as even victory wouldn’t have been good enough for Durham.
Essex’s game with Hampshire was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to bad weather, which gave them the point they needed to qualify for the quarter-finals on net run-rate.
To overtake them, Dynamos would have had to successfully chase down their target of 134 to win inside 15.2 overs, and Cook admitted it was a real disappointment not to progress.
“Ultimately we’re very disappointed not to go through,” he said. “We had a chance yesterday, but certain things had to go in our favour after getting rained off at Leicester the other evening. In the event, Essex got a point which was enough for them really.
“I thought we played well in patches, and showed some aspects of the game we’ve got to nail down in terms of getting our fundamental skills organised – that has to be part of getting your solid base and playing well consistently.
“We’ve won four, tied one and lost four. The net run-rate was in the back of our mind. It wasn’t quite a catch 22 situation, but an awkward one in as much as if Essex had been called off before we went out to bat we’d have known the definitive amount of time we had to get the runs.
“Because Essex were in limbo and their game wasn’t called off until we’d been batting 13 overs it was a difficult one.
“We could have gone hell for leather and got bowled out within the 15 overs chasing it. If we’d done that and Essex had lost we’d have been pretty disappointed. It was an awkward situation.”
Deposed four-day skipper Phil Mustard top scored for Durham with 33, as the hosts made a steady if unspectacular effort of chasing the Lancashire total.
There were to be no final fireworks from overseas professional Herschelle Gibbs, who was out lbw to Glen Chapple for just six.
Gibbs will now leave the club, with his next T20 contract set to take him to Sri Lanka, and Cook was quick to praise the efforts of the South African during his stay at the Emirates ICG.
“He’s been absolutely brilliant, both from a tactical point and a batting point,” he said. “He’s brought into the dressing room a lot of knowledge about Twenty20 and how to play it.He’s been a really shining example for people to see.
“I don’t think there’s evidence of him making an immediate difference to individuals, but when you sit down and consider how he played, when he got his scores how he batted, there’s some really important lessons to learn.”
Another player to come to the fore in the T20 format has been fellow South African Johann Myburgh.
Initially signed for a month, the all-rounder looks to have done enough to extend his time with the county, and seems set to replace Michael Di Venuto, who the club is expected to make a statement on in the next 24 hours.
Chris Rushworth, Gareth Breese and Scott Borthwick all weighed in with two wickets apiece for Durham, as Lancashire promising start of 69-1 after nine overs petered out – spin duo Breese and Borthwick going for a combined total of 34 runs from their eight overs.
One-day skipper Dale Benkenstein almost saw Durham over the line, but three balls from the end he was caught by Paul Horton off the bowling off Ajmal Shahzad for 28.
Horton was again in action on the last ball running out Breese to ensure the game ended in a tie with both sides making 133.
Durham must now focus on the County Championship with a trip to Worcestershire tomorrow (11am start), but with a rainy forecast at the County Ground, the weather could have a big say once again.