Durham Season Preview 2024

Durham Season Preview 2024

While Durham’s white ball performances in 2023 were below par, they had a dominant red ball season, winning the Division Two title at a canter. The success was built on strong batting performances, allowing them to accrue 54 batting bonus points (twice the number Surrey managed in winning Division One) and a potent bowling attack, led by Ben Raine and Matty Potts, with 60 and 54 wickets respectively. Durham certainly benefited from Potts not being required by England on a regular basis and it is likely that they will see less of him this summer following a successful England A tour to India this winter, where he took 20 wickets at 16.95. However they have this in hand, having recruited Scott Boland as their second overseas player, for the first half of the season. Boland will be remembered for the remarkable start to his Test career at the age of 32, when he ripped through England at his home ground, the MCG, with 6 for 7. His arrival may be delayed, with his state side Victoria, in contention for the final stages of the Sheffield Shield competition. There have been no significant departures from the club and they have recruited the experienced Leicestershire duo of Colin Ackerman and Callum Parkinson. The left arm spin of Matt Kuhnemann and Ajaz Patel contributed 22 Championship wickets in 2023 and Durham will be looking to Parkinson to fill that gap.

They look well equipped for Division One and some have been suggesting that they may be a threat to the dominance of Surrey. Alex Lees topped the Championship run scoring with 1347 at 70.89, with their overseas regular David Bedingham also passing the 1000-run mark. He has forced himself into the South Africa Test side, but Durham should not lose his services during the summer. Ollie Robinson had an excellent debut season and there is no reason why they cannot continue to be productive in Division One. On the bowling side, alongside Raine, Potts and Boland they have the services of Brydon Carse and Bas de Leede giving them plenty of options. Club stalwart Graham Onions has also returned from Lancashire as bowling coach.

They were less successful in the Blast, hampered by injury to Carse and the loss of Potts to the England squad. It is not a format in which Durham has had a lot of success in recent years, their last quarter-final appearance being in 2018, but the recruitment of Ackerman and Parkinson should boost their chances.

In the One-Day cup the Durham squad will be weakened by the number of call ups to the franchise competition, with six players already being retained. However they will be looking to improve on the three wins in last season’s group stages.

Key player

Alex Lees‘ career was revived following his move north back in 2019, ultimately leading to a Test call up in 2022, at the start of Brendon McCullum’s tenure. He participated in six wins out of seven, but has since lost his place to Ben Duckett. However Lees seems to have bought into the Bazball ethos, scoring his 1347 runs last season at 70.89 runs per 100 balls and was a member of the England A tour to India this winter, scoring 213 runs at an average of 35.5. He will be looking to match his 2023 performance against Division One attacks.

One to watch

Bas de Leede has come through the Dutch system and is now one of the most exciting all rounder talents in world cricket. Son of ex-Netherland’s skipper Tim de Leede, he was ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year for 2023, following match winning contributions in their World Cup campaign. In the decisive match of the qualifying tournament against Scotland, De Leede took five wickets and then turned the game around with the bat as his 123 runs off 92 balls saw the Netherlands home. He went on to have success with the ball in the main competition, taking 16 wickets at 30.43.

While his white ball credentials are well recognised, his red ball experience has been limited. However he stepped up for Durham in the Championship last summer, playing six matches at the back end of the season, scoring 279 runs at 93.00, including a century and two fifties, as well as taking 17 wickets at 29.05. The relationship between counties and associate players can be a tricky one, but Durham will be keen to see as much of their Dutch international as possible.

Overseas signings: David Bedingham (South Africa), Scott Boland (Australia) (until end of July)

Ins: Colin Ackermann (Leicestershire), Callum Parkinson (Leicestershire)

Outs: Liam Trevaskis (Leicestershire), Harry Crawshaw (released), Luke Doneathy (released), Ross Whitfield (released), Tom Mackintosh (released)

How will they fare: Durham are equipped to make an impact in Division One of the Championship. Their chances of success in the white ball competitions may be determined by player availability, with the T20 World Cup taking place during the Blast and the other competition in the height of summer likely to take away a chunk of their squad.

Opening fixture: CC vs Hampshire on April 5 at Seat Unique Riverside, Chester-le-Street


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