Durham are confident they can repel Derbyshire’s audacious bid to sign Paul Collingwood, which has been confirmed by the tabling of a 28-day notice to speak to him.
After sacking John Morris as director of cricket early this season, the new Derbyshire chairman, Chris Grant, promised to make what he called a “landmark signing”.
Collingwood has been high up his list of potential candidates for several weeks and Durham coach Geoff Cook said: “They probably realised that he has no contract with us because he’s still on an ECB central contract.
“But we are talking to him about a contract and he seems keen to commit himself to Durham. He’s a good man to have around as long as the drive is there and he has the motivation.
“When he started playing again after his knee operation we said all along we would see how it went. He seems to be enjoying it and we’ll be in constant communication for the rest of the season.”
While struggling Derbyshire might offer Collingwood a route into coaching, as well as continuing to play for as long as possible, the Durham captaincy might be up for grabs if he commits himself for three or four years.
He recently turned 35 and is unlikely to want to uproot his wife and three children, with whom he is keen to spend more time after retiring from Test cricket following England’s Ashes success in January.
Although Collingwood remained available for England’s limited-overs games he has not been selected, but he is still in demand elsewhere and has accepted a lucrative contract with Perth Stormers for Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 competition, which starts in December.