Durham’s Lewis: Big-name arrival proves our ambition

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DURHAM head coach Jon Lewis believes the signing of world cricket star Kumar Sangakkara is a measure of the county’s ambitions, writes GARY FOSTER.

The Sri Lankan star may only be at the Emirates ICG for two County Championship games, but Lewis feels his arival is still a major boon for the club.

He said: “We like to think we can attract the best players in the world – we like to think we are going to produce some of them.

“Where needs be or where we can, we will bring them in.

“(Shivnarine) Chanderpaul was world-class – we had no difficulty getting him, and getting him to come back as well on several occasions.

“He really enjoyed his time here, so it’s not a new thing for us, but it’s good that we still can (attract to players).”

Lewis expects Sangakkara to bring runs to the table in his short stay, but believes his knowledge of the game is something that the club can also tap into.

He added: “Paul (Collingwood) is obviously an influential part of the dressing room, and has been since he finished his international career and came back in, and Kumar, I am sure, will have a big influence in a short period of time.

“It would be nice if it was longer, I have to be honest – by the time he has found his feet, it will almost be time for him to move on, which is a shame.”

Durham have seen in the past that a successful stay can lead to a longer-term relationship between the club and overseas stars.

And Lewis wouldn’t mind that happening again.

He added: “I like to think that players – obviously, we want them to play good cricket, but we want them to enjoy themselves here, and Shiv (Chanderpaul) obviously enjoyed himself here.

“If we can make sure that, firstly, Kumar has a good time with the bat and enjoys his short stay, then he will be keen to come back.

“As he said, he’s got maybe 18 months left of international cricket, but he’s a fit guy and he’s hungry, sharp mind.

“I think he probably wants to squeeze a bit more out of his body before he hangs his boots up, and maybe this will be the place.”