DURHAM will hope that when Ben Stokes is named today in the England squad for the Test series against India his selection is not accompanied by a demand for him to rest.
Yorkshire, who host Durham at Headingley this evening in the NatWest T20 Blast, might say it’s only fair that Stokes should miss the game as they are without Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Liam Plunkett.
However, the selectors are more likely to want Stokes to continue the recent progress he has made since returning from his wrist injury, culminating in his unbeaten 49 in Sunday’s easy win against Derbyshire.
He might even be pushed up the order to No 3 this evening as top scorer Calum MacLeod is playing for Scotland against the Netherlands. He made 35 in the first of the three matches at Titwood, Glasgow, yesterday.
Michael Richardson has been drafted into the Durham squad and will compete with Keaton Jennings for a place, depending on the depth of batting required.
Jennings would be unlikely to bat higher than eight, but his medium pace provides an extra bowling option.
After being rested for the last two matches, Chris Rushworth returns and Durham need another win if they are to maintain hopes of finishing in the northern group’s top four.
When they have reached the quarter-finals it has tended to come through a late surge and they have five group games left after this one, starting at home to Nottinghamshire on Friday.
That will break up six days of cricket against Yorkshire, who are the hosts for a championship match at Headingley starting on Monday, followed by the return T20 game on Friday week.
It is unfortunate for Durham that of the two teams in the group they play only once bottom club Derbyshire are one. The Jets currently lie sixth with seven points from eight games.
Durham (from): M D Stoneman (capt), P Mustard, B A Stokes, P D Collingwood, G J Muchall, S G Borthwick, M J Richardson, G R Breese, K K Jennings, R D Pringle, J W Hastings, U Arshad, P Coughlin, C Rushworth.
Graham Onions and Mark Wood made their comebacks from injury in the three-day Second X1 Championship match against Glamorgan at Middlesbrough yesterday.
Bowling competitively for the first time since suffering his back injury at Hove on May 11, Onions took the wickets of veteran Murray Goodwin and Australia-born former Surrey batsman Stewart Walters but not before Walters had scored 101.
There was also a wicket for Barnard Castle’s Josh Bousfield, who has also been injured, but Glamorgan topped 300.
Durham announced yesterday that Port of Tyne have extended their limited-overs shirt sponsorship deal with the club. They been associated with the county champions since 2010, and the partnership will now continue until the end of the 2016 season. Port of Tyne will sponsor the side in the new Royal London Cup, a 50-over competition which starts on July 27 when Durham take on Somerset at Taunton.