Sir Ian wil help bring the glory days back
SIR Ian Botham’s place among the cricketing greats can help Durham climb out of their slump and become a major force in county cricket again, according to Paul Collingwood.
Durham were relegated in 2016 and hit with a 48-point deduction after seeking financial help from the England and Wales Cricket Board this season and currently sit ninth in the ten-team league after two wins and four draws.
And off the pitch Collingwood is confident that, with England’s greatest all-rounder as chairman, they are moving in the right direction.
He said: “I think he will bring the right people in. It is not necessarily an overnight thing, but I think he has brought a status. You realise how big of a man he is in terms of bringing money into the club. He’s determined, he is very ambitious, and I think he has got his heart in it, which is a great sign.”
One of the other sanctions that Durham were hit with was a revised salary-cap between 2017 and 2020.
But Collingwood says this has worked in their favour, forcing them to give some of their younger players a chance to shine without too much pressure being heaped on them.
He added:“We have all agreed that this year was going to be a production year, developing the younger players, exposing them in pressure situations they probably normally would not have been exposed to this early in their career.
“Everyone understands that it is such a difficult position to be in that we may as well take some good out of it and develop the younger players.
“We have seen some really top-class performances from some younger guys and that is exciting for the future.
“In many ways it is probably pressure off because you are not expected to go and win.
“It is quite heartening as well to see that there is so much talent around still and it’s important that we continue to drive that home to the new players coming in, that we are still a big county.
“We are still very ambitious, and we will continue to do what we have always done in the past, and that is trying to produce international cricketers.”
One of the players that Durham were able to keep hold of was Keaton Jennings.
The opening batsman has had a tough summer in the Test spotlight, making only 127 runs in eight innings, at an average of 15.87 with a best score of 48 against South Africa and was subsequently dropped for the first Test against West Indies.
Collingwood says if Jennings wants to guarantee his spot on the plane to Australia this winter then he has to start scoring some runs.
He added:“That’s his job in life, scoring runs. He knows that.
“And to back his ability again – his confidence will be hugely dented from what has happened, and I know that from experience.
“He’s got the talent. Deep down he knows he’s got the talent. But once he starts scoring runs again and gets that belief back then hopefully he can have a really strong end to the season and push for a claim to that Ashes squad.”
Paul Collingwood was speaking in association with Specsavers – title sponsor of the County Championship. For information - specsavers.co.uk
In the spotlight: Paul Collingwood poses for a photo during filming of the Specsavers advert The Umpires Strike Back