Paul Collingwood is hoping to reunite much of the side that won the T20 World Cup under his captaincy for his special testimonial game on Sunday, August 20.
Collingwood will celebrate his fine career for country and country with a twist – the sides will line up in the colours of Newcastle United and Sunderland.
Kevin Keegan and Peter Reid will manage the two sides for an afternoon that the 41-year-old hopes will be a genuine cricketing spectacle. He said: “It’s something different, the chance to get cricketers into shorts for a start.
“We’ll be playing in Sunderland and Newcastle strips, with Kevin and Peter taking charge.
“I’m trying to get as many of the T20 World Cup-winning side involved too. Ryan Sidebottom is playing, Tim Bresnan, Luke Wright and I’m trying to get KP too.
“Obviously I’m trying to get the Sunderland team stronger and if KP comes up then I know who he is playing for – he’s still in good form.
“Not only that, but players I have played with in my career – Phil Mustard, Mark Stoneman, Scotty Borthwick are coming back, John Hastings too.
“I’m starting to get a feel for it and a decent feel for the teams we are putting out.
“The club were brilliant in helping get this off the ground and I’ve been playing here for 21 years, for them to allow us to play here and use the ground it gave us the chance to do something special – not just a normal T20,” he added.
“I’m very proud of the North East and what it is all about. Sunderland and Newcastle are a big part of that.
“And we are doing this in football strips, wicketkeepers in goalkeeper green, umpires as referees so it’s going to be something.
“I wanted to say thanks to the fans as well. It’s amazing how they turn up throughout and I want them to enjoy a really relaxed fun day and hopefully get them engaged.
Collingwood may be approaching the end of his career but is in fine form for a Durham outfit battling the aftermath of the ECB’s punishments.
Two superb knocks from the captain could not prevent his side being beaten by Glamorgan, but the former international is hoping that the experience on offer to younger players will be invaluable.
He said: “The season has been frustrating – we always knew if we were going to do anything special then everything had to go our way.
“We went for the win at Glamorgan earlier in the week, we had to try to give ourselves enough time to get them out.
“It was a little bit of a gamble, but it was no shame in losing a game we tried our best to win.
“Look at the bigger picture – in years to come the young players will have gained plenty of experience in a situation like that and they will benefit from it.
“We’ve a lot of injuries in a small squad so opportunities will come for more and more youngsters.
“Durham fans understand it was always going to be a difficult year.
“We’ve got the likes of Onions, Rushworth, Weighell, Carse, all injured – that’s a lot of wickets.
“There’s Burnham with a broken thumb, Richardson did his groin.
“Mark Wood is away with England, there are a lot of players missing and that means opportunities for others at a young stage of their careers.”
The testimonial match, supported by Ward Hadaway, M24Seven and Infiniti Newcastle, will raise funds for the Graham Wylie Foundation, a charity working to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people across the region.
For more information visit www.Colly40.com and for VIP hospitality / Tipi tickets contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase ground admission tickets, contact the DCCC box office 0844 499 4466.