Durham are resigned to seeing no more of Paul Collingwood next season than they did last as he chases the big bucks of Twenty20 cricket.
When Collingwood signed a new three-year contract with the club last summer, following his retirement from Test cricket, there was speculation that he might take over as captain.
However, despite his lack of recent success in the shortest form of the game, he continues to find himself in demand. He will be staying on in Australia until at least January 21 after helping Perth Scorchers to the Big Bash semi-finals and is committed to the South African T20 tournament in February and March.
His contract with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, which runs from April 4 to May 27, could then rule him out of Durham’s first seven LV County Championship games.
Since captaining England to their 2010 ICC World Twenty20 triumph, Collingwood has actually proved much more adept at 40-over cricket than 20. For Durham last season he averaged 48.6 in the Clydesdale Bank 40 as opposed to 10.66 in the Friends Life t20 competition. But he was easily the most effective Twenty20 bowler, taking 16 wickets at 9.81 with the best economy rate of 5.81.
Yet he has bowled only three overs, costing 33 runs, in six matches for Perth Scorchers so far and has totalled just 48 runs in four innings. He is batting at five or six in a team in which Herschelle Gibbs and Marcus North are averaging in the 40s at the top of the order.
Since losing their opening match the Scorchers have won five on the trot and have qualified for the semi-finals with one game left.
Collingwood was still under a central contract when he signed his two-year deal with Rajasthan Royals. But he was unable to play for them last year after having a knee operation, which kept him out of action until the end of May.
He took over in the Durham team from Ben Stokes, whose sensational form prior to badly dislocating a finger helped them into a comfortable lead at the top of the Championship.
They finally finished third and face a tough start this year, opening up at home to Nottinghamshire on April 12 before making two trips to London to face newly-promoted Middlesex and Surrey.
The other games Collingwood could miss are at home to champions Lancashire, away to Warwickshire, and Somerset home and away.