Durham chief executive David Harker is confident the county will make a new signing before the start of the coming cricket season.
Yesterday’s announcement of Dale Benkenstein as Hampshire’s new coach threatens to leave them perilously light on experience for the 2014 season. For the first time since 2009, they will look overseas for a solution.
Captain Paul Collingwood has been made England assistant coach for the limited-over tour of West Indies, and the World Twenty20. It highlights him as a strong candidate to be involved in the future coaching set-up, either as Andy Flower’s direct replacement, or in a support role.
Ben Stokes is certain to be an England regular this year and Scott Borthwick and Graham Onions will hope to be involved too. Durham released five senior players after winning last season’s County Championship.
“I’m pretty confident we will recruit someone before the start of the season,” said Harker. “In the past we’ve had a lot of success bringing in younger overseas players but now the rules have been changed to have a minimum amount of international experience before you can sign them.
“We’ve got a couple of irons in the fire but we’re a long way from signing anyone. The ideal replacement would be a batting all-rounder in the Stokes mould.”
Since Shivnarine Chanderpaul left in 2009, Durham have not taken up the option of an overseas player in the Championship. Counties are allowed one each.
The Riversiders take on MCC in Abu Dhabi on March 23 and their Championship season starts on April 12 at Northamptonshire.