As the 14th T20 competition approaches in England we look at the runners and riders in the 2016 NatWest T20 Blast. We assess the merits of Durham Jets in the Northern Group.
PREVIOUS BEST: Semi-Finals 2008
OTHER YEARS: In 2009 and 2013 Durham reached the Quarter-Finals. In all other seasons they failed to progress from the group. 2008 was their only trip to Finals Day.
HEAD COACH: Jon Lewis
CAPTAIN: Mark Stoneman
OVERSEAS PLAYERS: None
FULL SQUAD: Keaton Jennings, Paul Collingwood, Graham Clark, Jack Burnham, Grham Onions, Jamie Harrison, Callum MacLeaod, Scott Borthwick, Ryan Pringle, Michael Richardson, Phil Mustard, Gavin Main, Adam Hickey, Chris Rushworth, Mark Stoneman, Gordon Muchall, James Weighell, Paul Coughlin, Mark Wood, Ben Stokes, Barry McCarthy, Usman Arshad, Stuart Poynter, Gurman Randhawa, Brydon Carse.
Durham finished 6th in the North Division after a solid start and a domestic T20 trophy is the title missing from their Roll of Honour.
Paul Collingwood, a World T20 winner with England, provides the experience alongside Phil Mustard, but they will have their work cut out to claim their first NatWest T20Blast title. The county were handed a major blow when overseas fast bowler John Hastings was forced out with injury. The Jets are also without Mark Wood after the England paceman underwent ankle surgery which means he misses the 2016 campaign.
In Ben Stokes they have one of the most destructive players in the world, however he is likely to be missing with England for the majority of the season.
KEY MAN – PAUL COLLINGWOOD
Paul Collingwood embarks on this season’s NatWest T20 Blast on the eve of his 40th birthday, yet his powers have barley diminished. Still capable of changing any game with the bat and ball he needs to enjoy a profitable summer if Durham are to progress.
A three-time Ashes winner he remains the only Englishman to lift a global cricket trophy – ICC World Twenty20 title in 2010. As England’s most-capped ODI player, Collingwood’s experience is crucial to the Durham dressing room.
ONE TO WATCH – KEATON JENNINGS
Jennings Used mostly as a lower order batsman and very little with the ball in 2015, the Jets could find a place for Jennings higher in the order after a fine start to 2016 in the red ball format. Integral in the Championship in 2014, the following year went by without a century for the 23-year-old, but his fortunes took a turn for the better in Durham’s opening match of 2016 as he scored centuries in both innings against Somerset.
THE WORD ON THE STREET
Mark Stoneman captain: “We haven’t yet reached the heights we should have in this format but we will certainly look to progress this year and reach the finals.
“T20 is all about having fun and giving the supporters some real entertainment and I’m really looking forward to the start of the season, form will play a big part but I certainly have confidence in the side.
“We’ve still had some great games and there is a really positive, family feel around the ground,” he added. “The atmosphere is fantastic and it’s like having an extra player on the pitch! It’s nice to be able to sign autographs at the end of the match and meet the fans. We’re trying to inspire the next generation of cricketers.”