DURHAM one-day skipper Mark Stoneman is ready to have a Blast.
The Jets kick-off their new-look NatWest T20 Blast campaign at home to Worcestershire Rapids at the Emirates ICG tonight (5.30pm start), and Stoneman is hoping to start on a winning note.
He said: “It’s something I really enjoy (T20), and obviously as captain now I’m really looking forward to it.
“Hopefully, we can start with a win.”
Stoneman will be without the services of Graham Onions (back) and Ben Stokes (wrist) due to injury.
But the Durham skipper is looking to be positive, and says that could give some of the younger members of the squad a chance to shine, particularly with head coach Jon Lewis naming a 14-man squad which contains just four players over 30.
Stoneman added: “The workloads the bowlers are taking on at the moment, particularly with thnpe T20 being inbetween the four-day stuff, means that it creates opportunities for theyounger guys, which is exciting.
“It’s a bit of the unknown, but, at the same time, a great chance for them to get into the first team, and hopefully put in some good performances.”
The change of format this campaign will see Durham play their T20 clashes between County Championship matches across the season.
And Stoneman admits that will probably mean more of a tactical approach to the shortest form of the game.
He said: “In recent years, the tournament has been based around momentum, and getting on to a winning streak was a massive thing. Obviously now it’s a bit more broken up, which allows a bit more thought to go into, but it it will be harder to generate momentum.
Scotland international all-rounder Calum MacLeod is named in the squad for tonight’s match, after impressing for the Second XI. The 25-year-old scored a century in the recent T20 match against Yorkshire seconds, and could make his Jets debut against the Rapids.
Durham are in the nine-team North Group alongside Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Notts, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Northants and tonight’s visitors, Worcestershire.
After tonight, Durham’s next match is a County Championship trip to Somerset, starting on Monday.
DURHAM (from): Stoneman, Mustard, MacLeod, Borthwick, Collingwood, Richardson, Muchall, Breese, Pringle, Arshad, Wood, Harrison, Rushworth, Jennings.