Specsavers County Championship: Division 2 (2017 performance 9th)
Royal London One-Day Cup: North Group (2017 performance 5th)
Vitality Blast: North Group (2017 performance 9th)
Captain(s): Paul Collingwood (County Championship) Tom Latham (50 over captain) T20 TBC
Coach / Director of Cricket: Jon Lewis
Overseas Players: Aiden Markram (Four CC Matches), Tom Latham, Akshar Patel (last six CC matches)
Ins and Outs: Ins: Nathan Rimmington, Will Smith. Outs: Paul Coughlin, Keaton Jennings, Graham Onions
Man on a Mission
Cameron Steel – The 22-year-old enjoyed an impressive first season with Durham, with only Paul Collingwood scoring more first-class runs. His tally totalled 899 at an average just over 40, scoring two centuries and four fifties. The highlight of his 2017 campaign was an outstanding knock of 224 against Leicestershire – Steel’s highest career score.
The departure of Jennings has left a void in the batting line-up. It will be up to Steel to maintain the levels he displayed last season to ease the pressure on Collingwood.
One to Watch
Matthew Potts - Durham have a proud history of producing high-quality fast bowlers. The next one off the production line could well be Potts, who burst on to the scene last season. The 19-year-old played five matches, but took 14 wickets and had the knack of striking at crucial times.
His consistent line and length gave even the best of batsmen issues, with Potts notching the crucial scalp of Jacques Rudolph in Durham’s win over Glamorgan at the Riverside.
Injury curtailed his 2017 campaign, and also ruled him out of the ICC Under-19s World Cup, after he had been a regular in England’s team last summer. But should he return fit and firing, he will be a potent weapon in the four-day game.
Paul Collingwood – He remains the heartbeat of the club and continues to perform at a high level even as approaches the age of 42. Collingwood’s leadership was perhaps more vital than ever last term as Durham dealt with the repercussions of ECB sanctions. He ensured that they remained competitive in all formats, refusing to allow the standards to drop even when at times Durham were fighting a losing battle.
Collingwood surpassed the 1,000-run mark, scoring three centuries in his 14 first-class matches, while he was also just as impressive in the limited-overs formats. Durham must continue to rely on their skipper’s experience as he leads a youthful side in the 2018 campaign.
Prospects for 2018
After entering last season with points deductions in all three formats, Durham have a clean slate for the 2018 campaign. However, Jon Lewis and his team once again must deal with the loss of key players. The departure of Jennings, Onions and Coughlin stripped them of further quality so soon after Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick left the Emirates Riverside.
The signing of Markram will give the impetus in the batting line-up at the start of the campaign, with Latham on international duty with New Zealand. If Markram’s performances are of a similar calibre to those he produced against Australia in a series that will be remembered for very different reasons, Durham will be well placed for the return of Latham.
He was outstanding in his limited action last term and will carry the run-scoring burden. His experience in the 50-over format will ease the pressure on Collingwood. The Royal London One-Day Cup provides Durham with perhaps their best chance of success. They were Lord’s winners as recently as 2014 and were only denied a passage through to the knockout phase by that two-point deduction. The depth of all-rounders gives them an intriguing edge in the competition.
The 20-over format has not been a strong point for Durham other than their run to the final in 2016. They won three matches last term, finishing bottom of the North Group. So improvement will again be a priority.
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