Calum MacLeod starts the most important phase of his Durham career tonight.
The Scotland batsman plays for Durham in tonight’s Twenty20 Cup game away to Leicestershire.
With the new 50-over Royal London Cup starting up a week on Sunday, Durham’s next 11 matches are all limited-overs games, and MacLeod can expect to play a big part in all of them.
If he impresses enough, he may be able to force his way into a County Championship batting line-up which has been forced to follow-on in the last two games.
It is a heck of a transformation for a player who was released by Warwickshire as a youngster amid concerns over his bowling action.
“It was quite a few years ago,” said coach Jon Lewis. “He had a tough time of it, not easy. He was only 20 or 21 when he got released by Warwickshire and his role in the side was different then. I’m not quite sure where his batting was at that stage but he was primarily a seam bowler.
“He’s done well to force himself into a different role in order to get himself back into the game and I’d like to think he’s enjoying being back involved in first-class cricket.”
MacLeod has been Durham’s most impressive Twenty20 performer this season, and they will need a big display from him at Grace Road tonight.
Durham are two places off the bottom of the northern group, but only two wins off the top-four places with a game in hand.
Four sides from each group qualify for the knockout stages. Durham reached them last year, only to be beaten by Northamptonshire.
Durham have not released a squad for the game, but Graham Onions could make his first Twenty20 appearance of the season.
Meanwhile, Durham lost by 51 runs at Leicestershire in the Second XI Championship.
Paul Coughlin took 4-41 as the hosts declared on 214-7, then bowled Durham out for 255. Ryan Pringle top-scored with 54 in the second innings.
Sri Lanka A take on the Unicorns today in a 50-over game at South Northumberland. The Unicorns is a team made up of amateur players and former professionals looking for a route back into the game. Ticket prices are £5 for an adult, £2 for a child (under 18) or free if accompanied by an adult. Play is due to start at 10.30am.