IT has been a gloomy summer so far, but Liam Plunkett insists the dark clouds that have overshadowed Durham’s season can have a silver lining.
Durham’s County championship woes have been well-documented but they have shelved those relegation concerns in favour of a Twenty20 campaign that has started pretty well for the Dynamos.
With Plunkett and recalled Gareth Breese among the wickets, they are bowling well and the addition of South African Johann Myburgh seems to have steadied the ship at the top of the order. Overseas pro Herschelle Gibbs is also finding form with the bat – as well as proving a valuable addition off-the-field.
Buoyed by that they take on Yorkshire tonight looking to build on an encouraging five-wicket defeat of Derbyshire Falcons on Wednesday night – a win that was borne of an impressive, controlled attack.
Form in the shorter form of the game is a much-needed fillip for Durham, who Plunkett claims have genuine pretensions of winning the Friends Life t20 this season.
“Hopefully we can still win something this season. It is a confident group with a lot of talent in it so why shouldn’t we think that,” he said.
“When you look at the way we have started this competition, I think you can see that we have the players to do it. We have the batsmen who can score runs and I don’t think taking wickets has been too much of a problem in any form of the game so far.
“On Wednesday four guys took wickets and the wicket was doing a lot. In the one-day and Twenty20 teams we have been just as strong. Add to that the fact that we’re fielding very well – as you would expect – and the batsmen at the top of the order are scoring runs as well.
“It was a good win to get on Wednesday because we are finding different ways to win. Now we want to keep that going against Yorkshire.”
As well as team glory, Plunkett is hoping to make further progress on his own slow ascent back to the top.
Although overlooked for all but one of the county games so far this season, he has been a regular in the 40-over and Twenty20 teams – and was handed the new ball to devastating effect at the County Ground.
He took 2-22 to continue his own good form and has designs on the new ball again against Yorkshire.
“I am feeling good and I feel like I’ve started bowling a decent pace game and with a bit of control on Wednesday as well,” he said.
“It was particularly satisfying to get the new ball – it is a challenge but it is one I’m only too happy to take on and I was happy to get a wicket with it.
“I’d be happy to do it again on Friday. I’ve been asked to bowl at the change over before but I would love to do it if I could – but the priority is to actually get in the team because we have that many options now.”
Hopefully Durham won’t be beaten by that old foe the weather. No county has lost more competitive cricket to the rain this season and the forecast for Friday evening is downbeat but Plunkett is not to worried.
“For me you always want to play and having won yesterday we want to build on that momentum,” he said.
“But you can’t control the weather and the ground is good despite the weather. Hopefully we’ll get some sort of play.”