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16th May 2024 Match Previews

Ben Stokes in line for Durham return

Ryan Campbell is able to call on England Men’s Test captain Ben Stokes, for tomorrow’s Vitality County Championship clash with Lancashire at Blackpool.

Ben Stokes is in line to make his first appearance for Durham in the County Championship since May 2022 as he steps up his return as an allrounder.

Stokes’ last appearance for Durham came in 2022, at Lord’s when Durham went up against Middlesex, having played three times during the 2022 season.

He is named in a 14-player squad in for contention to take on Lancashire at Stanley Park tomorrow, as Durham look for their second win of the season.

Michael Jones drops out of the 14-player squad having been added to the Scotland IT20 squad for their tri-series in the Netherlands, with one addition as George Drissell is included in the 14.

Durham remain in 5th place in the Vitality County Championship Division One table with 61 points from 5 games, while tomorrow’s opponents Lancashire are currently bottom of the Division sitting on 31 points.

Words from Ryan Campbell

The decision will always be up to Ben Stokes. He has been through everything he needs to go through and we just need to tick a few boxes with the ECB. Hopefully you will see him in a Durham shirt sooner rather than later.

For us we always talk about playing against the best players in the competition, but to have one in your own team makes life a whole lot different.

It will also lift the blokes. Some of them haven’t played with Ben for years, if at all.

I’ve had to tell Clarky and Ollie Robinson that they might have to go down a spot but that is part of it.

If he is available it will be exciting and I’m sure the crowds in Blackpool will swell. England cricket needs a fit Ben Stokes and what we see next week or after should be pretty impressive.

When you play on a used wicket as we did against Hampshire and lose the toss and have to bowl first you know you are in for some hard work. We have battled away really well and I’m so proud of our bowling group.

You could say we were hit for 500 and fold and walk away meekly but our group doesn’t do that.

I hate playing for draws but there are occasions where there are no other options and unfortunately that’s the way this game led. You haven’t seen anywhere our best cricket yet this season yet. We have hung in there and battled but the fact is other than the game we won, we haven’t been in a position to win games so far this season.

The exciting thing for me is that when we bring our A-game in the back end, we will be very dangerous.

Squad v Lancashire (17-20 May)

Colin Ackerman, David Bedingham, Scott Borthwick*, Brydon Carse, Graham Clark, Paul Coughlin,  George Drissell, Alex Lees (vc), Callum Parkinson, Matthew Potts, Ben Raine, Ollie Robinson+, Ben Stokes, Peter Siddle

Opposition Corner

Captain: Keaton Jennings

Head Coach: Dale Benkenstein

2023 finish: Fifth (Division One)

2023 highest run-scorer: Josh Bohannon (1,257)

2023 highest wicket-taker: Tom Bailey (50)

Key winter moves: Dale Benkenstein has replaced Glen Chapple as head coach, the ex-South Africa batter moving from Gloucestershire. The Red Rose have pulled off the winter’s eye-catching overseas signing, bringing in Australian off-spin legend Nathan Lyon, initially for a full season before Cricket Australia recently revised his availability to seven matches during the first half of the summer. New Zealand batter Tom Bruce also arrives at Emirates Old Trafford for a full summer.

Player most likely to Baz-Ball: Lancashire have a number of contenders, and dynamic young wicketkeeper-batter Matty Hurst is one if he gets a run in the side. But imposing and experienced opener Luke Wells is capable of taking a bowling attack apart if he gets going.

Final thought: Lancashire finished second in all three competitions in 2022, so a fifth-placed finish in last season’s Championship stung. They struggled to get results on flat pitches at Emirates Old Trafford, hence the marquee signing of Lyon. But, after his recent 22-wicket return in the India v England Test series, a lot of focus will be on left-arm spinner Tom Hartley. How will Lancashire’s management handle his development during the first half of the summer when playing two spinners in English conditions is not always possible?

Match Centre

The Club’s match centre will be in operation for the fixture with live scorecards, statistics & video highlights as they happen. You can watch the game live via Durham’s match centre and Lancashire YouTube channel. Durham Cricket will have full coverage on social media, with a full match report at the close.

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