Collingwood hails Steve Harmison

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DURHAM’s decision to hand Steve Harmison a benefit in 2013 has been hailed by skipper Paul Collingwood.

The decision raised eyebrows in certain quarters. After all, it’s no secret that Durham would probably like to offload the 34-year-old.

Harmison made just three first-team appearances this season – all in the County Championship and none of them came under the stewardship of new four-day skipper Collingwood.

But the big seamer has one year left on a four-year contract – the biggest the county has ever awarded to a player – and terms of the deal mean he is entitled to a benefit.

Harmison has made just 18 first class appearances for Durham in the first three years of the contract, partly down to injury

But Cook and Collingwood are in no doubt that Durham are right to hand the former World No 1 bowler his benefit year.

Collingwood said: “He deserves it 100 per cent. He’s been excellent in the way he’s gone about his cricket over the years at Durham.

“Hopefully we can get him on a pitch and playing well.”

Harmison made 62 Test appearances for England and 78 appearances in limited overs games.

He has taken 458 first class wickets for Durham, second only to Simon Brown (518).

Harmison said: “I have had some fantastic career highlights playing for Durham. Winning the LV= County Championship in 2008 is something I will never forget. It was an amazing day for the club and really showed what we were made of.

“I am privileged to have had such great support from Durham CCC and our members throughout my career to date and to be named beneficiary for next year is a real honour.”