Durham are hoping that Paul Collingwood will be available for the full season following reports that his Indian Premier League contract with Rajasthan Royals has been cancelled.
It will be a further reminder to Collingwood of life’s ups and downs. After helping Perth Scorchers to the final of Australia’s Big Bash, he failed to win a match as captain of Impi, the new franchise in South Africa’s Twenty20 competition.
Just before returning home last week he learned that he is to be an Olympic torch bearer in the Durham area on June 17 after being nominated by the county council.
He described his selection as a “huge honour” but will now be distracted by the prospect of a legal battle with the Royals.
The owners of the Rajasthan outfit, who bid $250,000 for his services, are understood to be close to selling the majority of the franchise to a Kolkata-based businessman for $200 million.
The deal requires the approval of the Indian board, but if it goes through it will be the first sale of an IPL franchise in the league’s five-year history.
Led by Shane Warne, the Royals won the inaugural tournament in 2008, but two years later the BCCI terminated the franchise, along with the Kings XI Punjab, on charges of financial irregularity. But the Royals fought their expulsion in the Bombay High Court and won.
After two years with Delhi Daredevils, Collingwood signed for the Royals last year but was unable to take part following knee surgery.
Since captaining England to the ICC World Twenty20 crown in 2010, his record with the bat in the shortest form of the game has not been impressive. He had a top score of 42 for Impi.
Collingwood, who will be 36 in May, signed a three-year contract with Durham after retiring from Test cricket last year. They did not expect to see him until late May this season as the IPL starts on April 4 and runs for seven weeks.
The county squad are currently on a pre-season tour to Dubai, where coach Geoff Cook said: “I haven’t spoken to Rajasthan, but I understand Paul is no longer required. When we get home hopefully he will have had a week’s rest and will be raring to go.”