Two days after signing a new three-year contract, having rejected Derbyshire’s overtures, Paul Collingwood was unable to take part as Durham were sent spinning out of the Friends Life t20.
Collingwood’s off cutters were sadly missed in the Rose Bowl quarter-final after he was ruled out by a back spasm suffered while batting on the final day of the County Championship match against Nottinghamshire.
In his absence, Durham’s one-day captain Dale Benkenstein tried his own brand of gentle medium pace and said: “Even I turned a couple square, so I knew then we were in trouble.”
Benkenstein did not complain about the pitch as he was fully aware of what to expect, but there has been a strange sequence of events in Hampshire’s recent pitch preparations.
Having lost points for a four-day surface deemed to have encouraged too much spin in an enthralling game, they switched to a strip which produced a stand of 523 in a turgid draw, then reverted to a ‘bunsen’ for the quarter-final.
The holders have developed their highly successful Twenty20 Cup strategy around their three spinners, Imran Tahir, Shahid Afridi and Danny Briggs.
None of them played when Durham thrashed Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in the Clydesdale Bank 40 last month, emphasising how all the Royals’ eggs have been thrust into the T20 basket.
Durham’s three spinners took none for 89 in 11 overs in the quarter-final, while Hampshire’s trio had a combined tally of eight for 50 with Briggs bagging five for 19.
Benkenstein added: “We thought we might try to get after Briggs because at least we knew which way he would spin it. Once the asking rate gets up to eight an over it’s vitually impossible when you have to go in to face Afridi and Tahir and you’re not sure which way it’s going to turn.”
Collingwood is expected to be back in action for this week’s four-day home game against Hampshire, who look certain to be relegated, while Durham continue to chase their third title in four years.
After signing his contract, Collingwood said: “I’m a Durham lad through and through and I’ve really enjoyed being back in the dressing room with the guys.
“The club is ambitious and the quality of the team shows how committed we are to winning more silverware over the coming years. I want to be part of that – bringing more sporting success to the North East.”
While refusing to be drawn on the subject of whether Collingwood would be next season’s captain, head coach Geoff Cook said: “We are delighted that Paul has decided to commit his future to us.”