A big 10 days is under way for Durham. Jon Lewis intends for there to be many more.
The Emirates ICG outfit are in good form going into today’s LV= County Championship match at Middlesex.
They have won six of their last seven matches in all competitions, top YB40 Group B and on Tuesday qualified for the Friends Life T20 quarter-finals, wherein they travel to Northamptonshire this coming Tuesday.
First though, the Riversiders must re-adjust to the “four-day horse” at Lord’s, third in the table against fourth-placed hosts just 4.5 points in arrears.
And while Lewis – deputising for Geoff Cook, who he says is “doing really well, itching to get back” – wants success across all three formats, the stand-in coach has warned Durham their trip to cricket’s headquarters will be “tough”.
“It’s a big 10 days for us, but hopefully every day until the end of the season is big,” said Lewis.
“We’re third, Middlesex are fourth. Then we have the T20 quarter-final and three YB40 games, so we’re active in all three competitions and we want to be successful in them all.
“It would have been a real shame not to have gone through in the T20 with six wins from 10 games. But Gloucester beat Glamorgan and Wednesday’s results helped us out as well, so in the end we qualified relatively comfortably.
“It means the trip south is a little longer, and after the weekend we’ll bring a couple more of the lads down for the game at Northants.
“But we’re going into the spell in good form and confidence high. We had to break off from the T20 for a four-day game against Derbyshire last month and adjusted well, and we just have to do the same thing again.
“It’s not easy but everyone’s used to it now, it’s the norm to have to play three forms of cricket in a week in the First Class game, so we just have to get back on the four-day horse.
“We’ve had a good couple of days practice and the lads are raring to go.”
Not least captain Paul Collingwood, back in the fold following a thumb injury, and Graham Onions, who has been on England squad duty for the opening two Ashes Tests.
“Paul’s come through practice well so far, which is a big boost,” said Lewis.
“Mark Stoneman’s deputised fantastically well. We’ve thrust a lot of responsibility on his shoulders at quite short notice.
“That’s not easy for him, it doesn’t give you much time to plan, but credit to him, he’s risen to the challenge and it’s something we know we can look at in the future.
“But it is good to have Paul back. We tried to bring him back a couple of weeks ago, and the injury just wasn’t right. It’s improved since then and he’s determined to come back and strengthen us further.
“Having Graham is great as well – he’ll have a point to prove.”
Likewise, however, a Middlesex bowler also discarded by England for the third Test.
“It’ll be tough at Middlesex, they’re up there too,” Lewis said.
“They’ll have Steven Finn available, which is a big lift for them, and the Australian Adam Vogues, who didn’t play the last time we played them.
“So we know it won’t be easy, they’ll be confident and keen to climb the table. But the same goes for us.”
Durham (from): Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Michael Richardson, Paul Collingwood (c), Phil Mustard (wkt), Mark Wood, Calum Thorp, Chris Rushworth, Graham Onions, Ryan Buckley, Scott Borthwick.