Stanley McAlindon has relished the opportunity of playing a part in Durham’s Royal London Cup campaign amid the absence of several key players.
Durham have been without a number of their senior bowlers with Matthew Potts away on England Test duty, Ben Raine at The Hundred and Brydon Carse sidelined with a toe injury. It has left the dressing room short on bowling experience, giving McAlindon and Ollie Gibson vital roles in the attack.
Although Durham only won one of their Group A matches, McAlindon has loved the challenge of bowling with the white ball even in difficult match situations, including an incredible onslaught when Ben Green scored 157 in their only win over Somerset.
The 18-year-old said: “It’s hard, but you’ve got to stick it to the opposing teams and try to show what Durham can do. I feel as though I’ve been getting into a better rhythm and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The white ball presents a little bit of a different challenge but it’s been great.
“You’ve got to bowl your four-day lengths to tie those batters down and build pressure that creates chances and wickets. I’ve had to adapt my lengths a little bit so you want to bowl a little bit fuller to get wickets. You can’t really afford big partnerships to build because teams can punish you.
“The Somerset game was an outlier for us because Green played a gem of an innings. There’s not much you can do, you’ve just got to stay calm and adapt your skills from there. It’s funny because in one game you can be on top of the world and the next you can get slogged out of the ground.
“You’ve just to learn to take it in your stride. Having a guy like Chris Rushworth around is great, he’s done it for so many years with the red and white ball. You just look at him and he’s so composed and that’s what you want to be.”
Durham coach Neil Killeen has been buoyed by how his fledgling players have fared in the competition, both in their performances and their approach on the field.
He believes that McAlindon, along with Gibson and wicket-keeper Tomas Mackintosh, are learning vital lessons in their development.
Killeen added: “This competition provides a great learning platform for the young lads coming through. They get exposed to high-performance games whether it’s chasing down big totals or defending low scores. You can’t practice the types of experience that these guys are getting out in the middle.
“The lads have all shown character at one time or another in the competition, and here at Durham we’re very proud of that. It builds character and will stand them in good stead for the future.”