Durham’s Paul Collingwood returns for T20 action

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PAUL Collingwood and Academy product Ben Raine are both included in Durham’s squad for tonight’s T20 clash at Lancashire.

The experienced former England T20 captain, and the Sunderland-born youngster, make the trip in a squad minus David Miller, who has left Durham to join up with South Africa A.

Coach Geoff Cook says losing Miller is a blow, but he is looking on the positive side.

“Although David didn’t score a huge amount of runs while he was here, his fielding and the tempo in which he did score at when he got going, mean he will be a miss,” said Cook.

“However, as we always say when someone is missing, it gives the opportunity for someone to come in and show what they can do.”

That is likely to be Collingwood, who is fit again after a groin injury.

The all-rounder returned to action for Durham’s County Championship win over Lancashire earlier this week – weighing in with a timely 45 in his side’s second innings.

Lancashire are two places and three points behind Durham in the T20 table having won just three of their 10 games so far.

Derbyshire are just a point behind Dynamos in the table, but victory tonight would leave Cook’s men needing five wins from their remaining seven T20 games to be certain of a place in the quarter-finals, although results elsewhere could mean they need a lot fewer than that.

“We are looking to continue our improvement in the T20,” added Cook. “In our last game (a home win over Leicester Foxes), both Chris Rushworth and Mitch Claydon bowled really well.

“And throughout the competition the top of the order has performed with the bat, so we have to look to build on that.

“We want to sustain that level of playing in this form of the game, which while it can be a bit bish bash, requires a lot of talent and technical nous as well.”

Durham squad: P Mustard, GJ Muchall, ID Blackwell, PD Collingwood, DM Benkenstein, MD Stoneman, GR Breese, WR Smith, BA Raine, LE Plunkett, SG Borthwick, ME Claydon, C Rushworth.