Ryan Buckley on alert for Durham's crucial clash

Ryan Buckley could make his first appearance in more than two months in the most important game of Durham’s season

Durham cricketer Ryan Buckley
Durham cricketer Ryan Buckley

Ryan Buckley could make his first appearance in more than two months in the most important game of Durham’s season.

The 19-year-old spinner from Darlington has been named in the squad for Wednesday’s crucial top-of-the-table County Championship game against Yorkshire.

For Buckley to feature, one of Jamie Harrison or Mark Wood would have to drop out after taking career-best five-wicket hauls in last week’s crushing victory over Surrey.

But the Scarborough pitch normally favours spin, and Paul Collingwood will take a close look at it before naming his team. Scott Borthwick offers a spin option, but with the leg-spinner’s bowling erratic at times, Collingwood may be keen to make space for an alternative.

Buckley has only made two first-team appearances for Durham, both in this season’s Championship.

He has, however, taken ten wickets in them, including five in his first innings at The Oval in May, and has given his captain the type of control he likes to exert over opposition batsmen.

He has been selected ahead of the more conservative and experienced choice, off-spin bowling all-rounder Gareth Breese. Surprisingly overlooked for England’s Twenty20 series against Australia, Ben Stokes returns, which means 20-year-old all-rounder Usman Arshad is set to miss out against the county of his birth despite a solid debut against Surrey.

Joe Root, matchwinner when the sides met at Chester-le-Street in April, will not feature as one of only two members of England’s fifth Ashes Test team named in their Twenty20 squad.

Durham’s leading wicket-taker Graham Onions is still out with a broken finger on his right hand.

Collingwood did not field in the YB40 victory over Surrey yesterday thanks to a back injury, but it would be a major surprise if he did not feature in a game of Wednesday’s magnitude.

Durham moved second in Division One when they beat the Brown Caps by an innings and 144 runs on Sunday. They trail Yorkshire by 25.5 points, but have a game in hand on the leaders.

Both play twice against the other sides in the top four during the run-in, but with Middlesex and Sussex faltering, this week’s winners will be strong favourites to win the title.

DURHAM (from): Stoneman, Jennings, Borthwick, Smith, Stokes, Collingwood (c), Richardson, Mustard, Harrison, Rushworth, Wood, Buckley, Arshad


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