DURHAM are pondering a recall for big-hitting Gareth Breese as they look to put their Twenty20 campaign back on track in Derbyshire tonight.
The Dynamos followed up an encouraging start to their T20 season against Yorkshire Carnegie by being well beaten by the Nottinghamshire Outlaws at the Emirates ICG on Sunday.
It is the kind of inconsistency that has dogged Durham this year, and head coach Geoff Cook believes the return of several experienced campaigners can provide an answer to their troubles in the shortest form of the game.
Breese’s return is certainly a fillip, with the Jamaican all-rounder exactly the sort of player that Durham could do with on a variable track at the County Ground. With conditions set to be excellent, Cook may turn to Breese’s off-spin – with the player having returned from a calf injury sustained in CB40 action last month.
Cook confirmed: “Gareth Breese will be OK for Wednesday. He is an experienced Twenty20 player and we have some good decisions to make.
“We have people getting fit and we will be getting towards full strength pretty soon.
“It depends on the surface whether we will shuffle the pack. Derby might be a turning wicket so it might be an opportunity for Breese. We will make that judgement when we get there.”
Durham had been hoping to build on an excellent win at Yorkshire, but there were some familiar batting failures for the visit of Notts on Sunday.
All of the top order were out cheaply as they tried to get to grips with the surface and then it was an uphill struggle for Durham to get a foothold.
Derbyshire have one win and one defeat from their three games so far and, as Cook points out, there is a tendency for the competition to be a tad schizophrenic in its earlier stages.
“It’s frustrating, but in the nature of Twenty20 cricket in the odd instance,” he said.
“The toss was a crucial thing, we would have put them in to bat had we won the toss. It was going to be tricky, nobody knew how the wicket would play and so it proved. Our first four batsmen were all caught in the ring trying to impose themselves.
“We have eight games to go, Notts are a very strong batting team and we played well in Yorkshire.
“We didn’t have a great deal of luck with the toss or the odd chance early in the Notts innings, but that’s the nature of Twenty20 cricket. We have some exciting stroke players at the top of the order and it was not really the surface for those players to impose themselves.”
With Herschelle Gibbs yet to turn on the style, it is another South African new arrival who has done most to prompt optimism in the Durham camp.
Johann Myburgh was signed on a short-term contract but was a rare bright spot in Sunday’s defeat, notching an impressive 45 from 41 balls during an otherwise disappointing display.
Cook likes what he has seen in the former Hampshire man, particularly his poise and ingenuity. With Gibbs still struggling to acclimatise, having one South African hitting form is a major plus for the Durham head coach.
“Johann is a good cricketer,” he said.
“People think Twenty20 cricket is all about beating the ball to the boundary. Johann has the ability to do that but he is also a bright batsman as well. He worked out the conditions very well against Notts and did very well.
“He showed some classy shots to get us up towards a good total.”