GEOFF Cook is not worried Paul Collingwood may have to start Durham's 2013 cold.
The captain this week underwent surgery on a right thumb injury which has been troubling him since June.
Coach Cook concedes Collingwood will “probably not play a massive amount” of pre-season cricket, but thinks his experience will overcome the ring rust.
Collingwood broke the bone in a County Championship match against Warwickshire last summer.
It caused him to miss the Twenty20 phase of the season and he even had to watch his first game after replacing Phil Mustard as four-day captain from the sidelines.
Collingwood aggravated the problem around the house recently and when inflammation of the soft tissue settled he was sent for surgery on a ruptured tendon.
Ten days’ rest and three weeks in a protective splint have been ordered.
Durham’s opening first-class match of 2013 is against Durham University, five days before kicking off their County Championship campaign at home to Somerset.
Cook said: “For somebody of his experience it’s not earth-shattering.
“If he gets a week with his competitive instincts, that should be enough.” Collingwood missed the university game last season through illness, although the difference was he spent the winter playing Twenty20 cricket in Australia’s Big Bash League.
He spent much of the back end of last year in commentary boxes working for Indian television on England’s tour of the country.
Beyond the university game, Durham’s pre-season programme is still in flux.
Unable to afford a foreign tour, they will instead spend a few days using Loughborough’s facilities.
They hope to organise a friendly against another county and if not, may take on the university.
Preparations enter a second phase next week after more emphasis than usual on the individual until now.
Cook added: “The players were given a bit of a brief just after Christmas the two months up to now would be very much their own responsibility to pretty much devise their own programme.
“We’ve lost two excellent match-winners in the retired Michael Di Venuto and injured Ian Blackwell, so players have to move on and rid themselves of their inconsistencies.
“As of next week the emphasis will be more on the team.
“The essence of pre-season is to make sure you’re ready for the first game.”