Tom Latham could help Durham rekindle interest in their flagging NatWestT20 Blast campaign by making his debut against Yorkshire at the Emirates Riverside tomorrow night (6.30pm start).
The New Zealander tuned up for his proposed Durham debut by thrashing 241 for the second team this week.
He shrugged off six weeks of inactivity since his arrival by hitting 25 fours and nine sixes in a three-day game against the MCC Young Cricketers at High Wycombe.
After proving his recovery from a foot injury, Latham looks set to play in the Blast tie against Yorkshire, who will be seeking revenge for last year’s semi-final defeat at Edgbaston.
While Yorkshire have every chance of progress, Durham have little hope of even escaping bottom place in the North Group as they are now further adrift than when they began the campaign on minus four points.
Durham hope to have Mark Wood available once he recovers from his sore heel as he is not in the squad for the fourth Test.
The ECB will dictate when the centrally-contracted paceman can play, but Sunday’s Specsavers County Championship match away to Leicestershire is a possibility.
Yorkshire will be praying that Wood is not fit for tomorrow after his sensational performance in last year’s semi-final at Edgbaston, when he took 4-25 in Durham’s seven-run win.
It was an unlikely outcome after Yorkshire amassed 223-6 to win by 49 runs in the group game at Headingley a month earlier.
While Paul Collingwood continues to break records in his 22nd year as a first-class cricketer, his successor as Durham’s T20 captain, Paul Coughlin, is having mixed fortunes.
In becoming the first player to score a T20 century for Durham at Worcester on Sunday, Collingwood also became the oldest cricketer to score a hundred in the format.
Aged 41 years and 65 days, he was 28 days older than the previous record holder, Graeme Hick, when the ex-Worcestershire batsman scored 110 against against Northamptonshire in 2007.
Collingwood is also Durham’s leading wicket-taker in this year’s Blast with eight wickets at 26.0, with an economy rate of 7.7, while the much quicker Coughlin has six wickets at 39.3 and has conceded runs at an alarming 11.23 an over.
Coughlin tops Durham’s batting averages, however, with 184 runs at 36.8, and has the best strike rate of 138 runs per 100 balls.
Hopes of topping a T20 attendance total of 30,000 at the Riverside for the first time have receded.
Durham are disappointed that tomorrow’s game clashes with Sunderland AFC’s opening fixture in the Championship at home to Derby.
* Rain hit the second day of Durham seconds’ clash with MCC Young Cricketers, who moved on to 177-4 in reply to the visitors’ 417-4 at High Wycombe.