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Durham play waiting game with Sangakkara
AS they wait to hear when Kumar Sangakkara will arrive, Durham will also keep an eye on the Indian Premier League to see whether their chief overseas signing, John Hastings, is in the Chennai Superkings line-up on Friday.
They start their campaign against Mohali in Abu Dhabi and the strength of their squad suggests Hastings is not guaranteed a place.
He might be competing with fellow Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus, but Chennai’s strength appears to lie in spin as they can call on Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Samuel Badree.
Captained by M S Dhoni, the squad also includes such T20 specialists as Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Brave and Dwayne Smith, so it will be a surprise if they do not progress to the latter stages of the tournament.
Chennai’s last group game is in their home stadium on May 22, so there is an outside chance that Hastings could be available for Durham’s sixth championship game at Trent Bridge, starting on the 25th.
However, if the Superkings progress to the semi-finals he is unlikely to arrive for the four-day match at home to Middlesex, starting on June 1 and would make his debut in the fourth Twenty20 match at Edgbaston on June 6.
It now seems highly improbable that Sangakkara will be here for the championship game against Somerset, starting at Chester-le-Street on Sunday.
That means he will be limited to two four-day matches before joining up with the Sri Lanka squad.
Somerset are monitoring the fitness of two bowlers, the veteran Alfonso Thomas and young speedster Craig Overton, after both were injured in the drawn match against Yorkshire.
Mark Wood remains Durham's only injury concern, with coach Jon Lewis saying: "It's a pity he wasn't ready to play at Northampton because he would have bowled well on that pitch.
"He's not quite there yet but will play some second team cricket next week.
"It was good that most of our batsmen got good starts at Northampton, but when they do that we like at least one to go on and get a big hundred."
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