Test Match Sofa
Durham set to call time on Di Venuto
By Tim Wellock
Durham are set to call time on the career of Michael Di Venuto, who passed 25,000 first-class runs in April. At the time the only batsman ahead of him who was still playing was Mark Ramprakash, but in the space of a week both their careers have ended in mid-season.
It is expected that Durham will issue a statement in the next two days, but it appears they are determined to move forward with a more youthful, energetic side under new four-day captain Paul Collingwood.
All-rounder Ian Blackwell could also be a victim of thiks policy, at least temporarily. He is not in the squad for the resumption of County Championship cricket at Worcester this week.
In his fourth season with Durham, Blackwell has another year left on a contract which was renewed last year. But this was always expected to be 38-year-old Di Venuto’s final season with the club he joined in 2007.
Other than in making 96 at Taunton, he was part of Durham’s collective batting failure in the first half the season and missed the last two games before the Twenty20 break because of an Achilles problem.
He was fit enough to smash 150 off 81 balls in a second team game two weeks ago but has not been considered for one-day action, something which has upset him in the past.
Like Di Venuto, Blackwell missed the last two Championship games following a back spasm and hasn’t featured since. He wasn’t selected for any of Durham’s five Clydesdale Bank 40 League games in the first half the season, even when fellow spinner Gareth Breese was injured.
South African Johann Myburgh, a late signing for the Friends Life t20 campaign, is expected to stay on for the rest of the season. But left-arm seamer Jamie Harrison is injured and there is also a doubt about Liam Plunkett because of an Achilles problem, which makes it all the more surprising that Steve Harmison has been allowed to leave Yorkshire on loan.
Coach Geoff Cook said: “Yorkshire approached us about three weeks ago with a view to taking a bowler on loan. By the time they followed it up we had decided to make Paul Collingwood captain and he made it clear he wants bowlers who can show control as their main feature.
“That means people like Graham Onions, Callum Thorp and Chris Rushworth. Steve is more of an attacking bowler so he’s not in Paul’s immediate plans and when Yorkshire came back to us it was decided he was the best option for them.
“He played in our last three games before the Twenty20 break and there were some good signs, so we hope the move is beneficial to both clubs.”
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