Stokes and Wood can give Durham a major lift in front of the cameras

Durham's Ben Stokes.
Durham's Ben Stokes.

Camera-shy Durham hope England duo Ben Stokes and Mark Wood will help their focus in Sunday’s Sky-televised NatWest T20 Blast tie at home to Leicestershire.

“We haven’t done very well in front of the TV cameras, especially against Leicestershire, in recent years,” said coach Jon Lewis.

“Perhaps we need to change the pre-match routine.

“Hopefully, Mark will be available if there is no reaction to bowling in the second team game at Nottingham this week.

“He has a lot to offer in white-ball cricket with his extra pace and skills such as reverse swing.

“In T20 you need to be taking wickets – it’s not enough just to be economical.

“Barry McCarthy has gone off to join up with the Ireland squad for their one-day internationals against Afghanistan and we probably won’t want to rush Chris Rushworth back after his hamstring injury.

“He will bowl in practice tomorrow and Paul Collingwood might have a bat.

“He says his thumb has improved a lot over the last few days, but he’s probably a week away from playing.

“We’ll find out in the second half of the season if he still has the motivation to carry on playing next year.

“He is giving us something in every competition, he’s one of the top leaders in the country and there are a lot of benefits to having him around.”

Stokes is not yet allowed to bowl competitively as he recovers from his knee operation, but he struck the ball powerfully in his run-a-ball 50 in this week’s Specsavers County Championship match against Hampshire.

Durham have already lost in front of the cameras at Grace Road this season, as they did last year, batting poorly to muster 120 for nine and 123 for five respectively.

They also lost televised games at home to Warwickshire and away to Worcestershire last season.

“We don’t seem to bring out our best performances in front of the cameras,” said Lewis.

“But we should be positive about playing at home.

“We hope to have a good crowd and clear weather and if we win, we will be in decent shape.”

With four defeats, three wins and two washouts, Durham lie fifth in the group and four of their five remaining games are at home.

With play starting at 2.30pm, they have designated Sunday a family fun day with a funfair available throughout, plus pre-match mascot races, face painting and fireworks.

Meanwhile, Durham’s Scott Borthwick missed out on an England call-up for next week’s first Test with Pakistan.

Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance was recalled, while Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones received a first call-up.

James Anderson was ruled out as he has not fully recovered from a shoulder injury.

England squad: Cook (c), Hales, Root, Vince, Ballance, Bairstow (wk), Moeen, Woakes, Broad, Finn, Ball, Roland-Jones.