WITH the experience of 197 one-day internationals behind him, Paul Collingwood is confident Durham can spring a surprise in today’s Royal London Cup quarterfinal against Yorkshire at Headingley.
In the week when he signed a contract to continue playing next year, when he will be 39, Collingwood said: “We’ve gained momentum through the one-day format so the confidence levels in this form of the game are really high.
“Yorkshire are one of the best teams and playing at home is going to be an added incentive for them to win.
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But there is a lot of pressure on them as we saw in the Twenty20 game we played against them at Headingley.
We’re confident we can cause an upset.”
Durham will be without Ben Stokes, who was in the England one-day team against India at Cardiff yesterday, but Gary Ballance has been released by England and will play for Yorkshire.
Until ex-Yorkshire player Jacques Rudolph toppled him by making a century in Glamorgan’s last group game, Collingwood led the tournament’s Most Valuable Player rankings.
Starting with his century at Taunton, he has cored 344 runs at a strike rate of 108 runs per 100 balls and has taken ten wickets with an impressive economy rate of 3.97 runs per over.
He took two for 25 in ten overs then made an unbeaten 62 in Durham’s final group game at home to Surrey, when victory enabled them to finish fourth.
Yorkshire topped their group and Adil Rashid is one place below Collingwood in the MVP rankings, while Tim Bresnan lies eighth.
Yorkshire came a cropper when they played their T20 home match against Durham on a pitch favouring the spinners.
Although Rashid and Azeem Rafiq had combined figures of six for 34, Gareth Breese’s unbeaten 30 lifted Durham from 94 for nine to 123 and the hosts were all out for 95.
They had their revenge when Jonny Bairstow made an unbeaten 102 at Chesterle- Street and in a match starting at 10.30 they are much more likely to look to their seamers to inflict damage today.
Breese has the incentive of prolonging his 11-year Durham career by at least one more game before he bows out at the end of the season.
The semi-finals are to be played on Thursday and Saturday next week.
Collingwood, meanwhile, wants to continue to develop a “family ethos” at the county he first represented 19 years ago.
He had planned to retire at the end of this season, but by playing on for another year he will buy Durham more time before making key decisions.
One of those will be who succeeds him as four-day captain, while the management structure could also be reviewed with Collingwood himself a candidate for high office once he hangs up his boots.
“It’s a privilege to be a professional sportsman and being involved with Durham is something you don’t want to give up too early,” he said.
“You’ve always got to be ambitious enough to keep trying new things and keep trying to improve in whatever areas you can.
“It’s been great working with Jon Lewis on some technical things with my batting which have really helped. I’m probably as fit as I’ve ever been in terms of how much work I’m putting into it and I really am enjoying my cricket.
“I know I’ve got more to give. I don’t want to tail off at the end of my career, I want to continue to give more and more to the team and be successful.
“If you can have success along the way while building a culture and trying to build a family ethos that we’ve got at the club then that’s an added bonus.”
Durham: M D Stoneman (capt), P Mustard, C S MacLeod, S G Borthwick, P D Collingwood, K K Jennings, G J Muchall, G R Breese, J W Hastings, P Coughlin, C Rushworth.