Test Match Sofa
Colly injury hampers Durham plans
By Tim Wellock
Durham's preparations for the new season are being hampered by lack of funds and an injury to skipper Paul Collingwood, who has undergone surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his right thumb.
The injury flared up over the winter and is related to the fracture he suffered in June last season when struck by a ball from Warwickshire’s Chris Wright, ruling him out for five weeks prior to taking over the captaincy from Phil Mustard.
Collingwood will have ten days of rest and spend three weeks in a protective splint before beginning his preparations for the season during a four-day stint Durham have arranged at Loughborough.
In the past they have enjoyed pre-season preparation in South Africa or Dubai, but they are now restricted by the same financial constraints which have forced the search for an overseas player to be suspended.
Jacques Rudolph was among those sounded out, but coach Geoff Cook said: “Once the club’s financial position became evident we had to accept that.
“Rudolph is probably not going to play any more Test cricket so we thought he would be a good man to have at the end of his career. But at the moment we are planning without an overseas man.”
There is still a possibility that the termination of Ian Blackwell’s contract will free up some money, but that has still to be resolved.
“The medical people said he wouldn’t be fit for first-class cricket after his shoulder operation,” said Cook. “The Professional Cricketers’ Association has an injury insurance policy, but it’s an awkward situation.”
The opening match against Durham University is just over five weeks away, starting on April 5, and Durham then have four tough championship matches to fit in before the end of April. They face Somerset and Yorkshire at home, and champions Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire away.
They will be desperate to have Collingwood fit for the start of four-day action as they were transformed under his captaincy last season.
After failing to win any of their first ten games they were 23 points adrift at the foot of the table, but they comfortably escaped relegation by winning five of the last six.
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