Mitchell Claydon's form means Harrison an option, not a necessity

The form of recalled seamer Mitchell Claydon means Durham do not have to pick fit-again Jamie Harrison today if conditions do not suit

Durham cricketer Mitchell Claydon
Durham cricketer Mitchell Claydon

Mitchell Claydon’s return gives Durham the option of easing Jamie Harrison back into action.

The 22-year-old left-armer is available for the County Championship game which starts in Derby today after an injection for the ankle problem which kept him out of last week’s impressive win over Sussex. He performed well in the wins over Surrey and Yorkshire, taking career-best bowling figures against the Brown Caps.

But Claydon’s display in the 285-run win means the Riversiders can afford to be choosy over the timing of Harrison’s return.

Claydon had been loaned to Kent for the remainder of his Durham contract, but took more Championship wickets in three days of cricket than three Division Two matches with them.

He was recalled less than 24 hours before Durham’s game, and it was announced on day one he will join Kent permanently for the 2014 season.

“It was a great effort from Mitch thinking of the bigger picture,” interim coach Jon Lewis said of the Australian’s 6-56.

“Getting the call literally a few hours before the game saying, ‘Listen, we might need you here,’ it can’t have been easy.

“It was great having Mitch again because conditions suited a guy who bangs it into the pitch. We got pretty lucky.

“Jamie came through practice on Monday and there was no reaction to it so I’m confident he will be an option whether we go with him at Derby or take another week before we bring him back.”

Durham will decide their team after a close look at the pitch. If tailored to Derbyshire’s spinners they also have the option of including Darlington-born off-spinner Ryan Buckley.

“Paul (Collingwood)’s made it really clear that we have got a decent formula with four seamers,” said Lewis. “But if it looks like we need the extra spinner we know we can do it after The Oval, where they prepared a pitch to suit their spinners and we brought Ryan Buckley in and outbowled them on it.

“So if we have to and that’s the surface, we won’t have any problem playing Ryan again.”

Buckley took 5-86 on debut against Surrey at The Oval in May.

Ben Stokes will again be missing as he is expected to play for England in today’s third one-day international at Edgbaston.

The all-rounder should be a huge loss after a century and some fantastic spells of bowling in his last county appearance to beat Yorkshire at Scarborough. But the form of Usman Arshad with bat and ball in his only two First-Class appearances has made light of Stokes’ absence.

Lewis commented: “Benny’s been, not quite a revelation because we always knew he was a good player, but he’s surpassed even our expectations.

“It makes a huge difference to us when Stokes isn’t around because of the balance it gives to the side.”

Both sides go into the game in good spirits after big wins in the previous round of matches. Durham’s took them top of the table with three matches to play, while Derbyshire’s lifted them out of the relegation zone at Somerset’s expense.

“Morale’s pretty good,” commented Lewis, who is still deputising for head coach Geoff Cook, who suffered a heart attack in June. “We’ve had a couple of weeks and played some good cricket.

“Playing so much cricket in a short space of time is not a bad thing if we are winning and we can keep people on the field. It got a little bit tight before Sussex in terms of numbers.

“If we are winning and we can keep the momentum up, having so many games at the end of the season will be a good thing for us.”

Derbyshire have recalled Sunderland-born seamer Mark Turner.

DURHAM (from): Stoneman, Jennings, Borthwick, Smith, Richardson, Collingwood (c), Mustard (wk), Arshad, Claydon, Rushworth, Onions, Harrison, Buckley.

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