John Hastings has already shown Durham’s fans what he is capable of in four-day cricket, but Paul Collingwood believes the Australian has all the qualities needed to fit in off as well as on the field.
Hastings makes his Twenty20 debut at Edgbaston tonight, before Durham travel to Worcestershire for tomorrow’s clash.
The 28-year-old only met most of his team-mates at the weekend, but Collingwood has played against him in Australia’s Big Bash, so he knows just what Hastings can do in the shortest form of the game.
“Jonny Hastings is the kind of bowler who will do well in our set-up,” said Collingwood, who played for Perth Scorchers in the 2011-12 Big Bash.
“He’s a guy who knows his own games and keeps it very simple. His batting is probably a lot better than people give him recognition for so I think he can be a good all-round addition to our squad in all forms of the game.
”I didn’t really know him as a bloke before he arrived but I’ve heard a lot from David Saker (England’s Australian bowling coach), who says he’s a real good, solid character who will fit in well in our dressing room.
“Usually the Aussies fit in pretty well. They’re usually a safe bet to fit into the English culture and enjoy the county season.
“There’s not a lot of cricketers out there who can come and play for the majority of the season in all forms of the game so when this one came around you think, ‘He’s pretty much the perfect overseas’. He’s not a guy who’s been there, done that, and is just finishing his career, he will have the bit between his teeth to force his way into the international side.”
Hastings has played 15 times for his country, but not since November 2012, so he has plenty of incentive to impress with Australia back for yet another Ashes series next year.
Hastings has been signed to play all forms of cricket, but having just arrived from the Indian Premier League, where he was largely a non-playing reserve for Chennai Super Kings, Durham can expect him to have a big impact on this season’s Twenty20 Blast.
“I love playing the traditional form of the game, I love First-Class cricket. I love to do well in that but my strengths are probably in the white-ball stuff, the one-dayers and the T20s, so hopefully we can see that coming to the fore.”
Hastings also showed in his first action for Durham – a 25-ball 38 not out against Middlesex in the County Championship this week – that he can hit the ball a long way, smashing two big sixes, including one into the health club car park.
“It was a bit filthy, wasn’t it?” he joked afterwards. “There was a bit of slogging. The position in the game allowed me to do that.
“I love batting. I don’t normally plays as many shots as that but that was a bit of fun.”
Tonight’s game will be played 20 years to the day after Brian Lara scored 501 for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston.
Lara’s score, in a County Championship game, was the highest in First-Class cricket, and came after he was dropped on 18 by Chris Scott.
“He’ll probably go on to get a hundred now,” said the wicketkeeper.