DURHAM are doing their bit to revive the almost extinct breed of the English leg-spinner, although it's a Scot with Pakistani parents who is currently lighting the way.

Glasgow-born Moneeb Iqbal, 18, is in his second year with the Durham Academy, while a second "leggie", Yorkshireman David Barrick, is on a development contract but is currently injured.

Iqbal took three for 36 as Northamptonshire piled up 445 for nine in the Second X1 Championship match at Darlington this week, and Durham's Director of Cricket Geoff Cook said: "He bowled brilliantly for 12 overs.

"He took a lot of wickets for the Academy last summer then went to Pakistan in the winter and went on to play for Scotland in the Under-19 World Cup. I saw him on TV and he did not look the same bowler.

"Once he was back with us he got off to a slow start this season, but he has really started to get his act together recently. He spins it a lot, he's a really good character, he's durable and loves to play.

"Both he and Barrick are exciting prospects. David was bowling really well until he broke a thumb on one hand and a finger on the other in the same game."

Cook feels that the lack of spinners is a national problem and hopes the recent success of Ashley Giles will help to convince people that spin is a valuable weapon.

"People have been conscious of the shortage of spinners for a while, but we have to provide the right conditions for them to bowl in. The structures of the game and the surfaces we play on are absolutely vital to spinners.

"There are all sorts of spin initiatives going on in the country, with all the young finger spinners being assembled. But we have to get down to some practical encouragement for them.

"It's like the situation with the Durham batsmen in the first few years at Riverside and Hampshire's batsmen now - they can't get runs. If spinners don't play on suitable surfaces they forget how to get people out."

Durham have invested a lot of time in their left-arm spinner Graeme Bridge, who bowled superbly to take three for 14 in nine overs in the totesport League game against Nottinghamshire at Cleethorpes on Sunday.

He has done well in other one-day games, but has taken only four wickets in five championship appearances this season.

He played for the seconds at Darlington this week and Cook said: "There's no substitute for bowling in a match and he has to get some overs in. Spinners have to be bowling 60 overs a week.

"He has had the sort of season which could become typical for spinners. He might bowl 150 overs in four-day cricket early in the season then not bowl for six weeks.

"Every spinner throughout history will tell you it's essential to be bowling regularly and getting into a rhythm so you can do it with your eyes closed.

"Graeme is a skilful bowler who has to make up for his lack of height with other qualities. He's brave and competitive, but we can't expect him to bowl well without the necessary overs behind him.

"If you are bowling well in four-day cricket, one-day cricket comes easily. But it doesn't work the other way round.

"In one-day cricket they have a bit of protection from defensive fields and are not under the same pressure to be getting people out."

Cook is also concerned about the lack of three and four-day cricket at second-team level, especially for the young players.

"The older players can service themselves for first-team requirements, but with the age group we are working with they need to be playing," he said.

"They get their biggest benefit from playing matches and finding out exactly what they can do. Some counties are playing only two or three games this year.

"We played a combined Somerset/Worcester side in a two-day friendly, which seems to be becoming more popular for financial reasons.

"People like our young spinners need as much of this cricket as they can get. We have to play Moneeb in these games and take a long-term view.

"It doesn't matter so much whether we win or lose.

If he has two out of five good days this year and three out of five next then we are moving in the right direction."

* The one-day match against the West Indies which was a provisional fixture on the Durham list for today will not take place.

The tourists are going to Derby instead.

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