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Collingwood eyes long-term captaincy role
PAUL Collingwood takes over the Durham captaincy today admitting that it's not something he has coveted. But that's not to say he has taken on the job reluctantly.
"Being captain is not something I've wanted the way some people do," he said. "But I understand it's the best thing for the club and I'm excited about it.
"It's a good challenge for me at the right time in my career and it's not something we see as a short-term fix. I could see myself doing it for the next two years.
"I'm desperate to do a good job and make the team win as much as possible. Things are not going to change overnight, but selection and tactics are things I can influence immediately.
"I have to make it very clear to the players that it comes down to the basics of applying pressure and batting for long periods, which we haven't been doing. We have to get back to playing proper four-day cricket and need the right personnel.
"We're not going to panic. We've got enough good players to get out of trouble. I believe we can move forward if we have the right values and principles in the team."
Collingwood was not 100 per cent certain yesterday that he would be playing at Worcester today following his month's absence with a broken hand. But as long as there is no serious reaction to his latest net session he will lead the side out against the team just above them at the foot of the table.
With Michael Di Venuto's career over, Durham are likely to have an opening pair of Will Smith and Mark Stoneman.
South African Johann Myburgh will also be considered for a top three spot when he becomes available this weekend.
Ben Stokes will have a big role to play with bat and ball as Durham need him to be their fourth seamer and leading all-rounder in the absence of the out-of-favour Ian Blackwell.
How long Graham Onions remains available depends on whether England require him for the Test series against South Africa. For the moment Chris Rushworth will join him in the attack, along with either Mitch Claydon or Callum Thorp.
Gordon Muchall is in the squad, but will play only if Collingwood doesn't, in which case he might finally get a chance at No 5 or 6 in the order, where he would be more likely to flourish than at three.
Alan Richardson is ready to return to spearhead Worcestershire's battle against relegation. One of Wisden's five cricketers of the year last season, the veteran seamer has recovered from a shoulder injury which has sidelined him for seven weeks.
Richardson took 73 championship wickets last season, and had 26 wickets in five matches this year before being injured.
n Durham bowler Liam Plunkett has received a reprimand from the England and Wales Cricket Board for a breach of their disciplinary code.
The 27-year-old former England international was reported by the umpires during Durham's Friends Life t20 match against Nottinghamshire on June 29 for a level one breach of the code, which relates to ''bowling an accidental high full pitched ball that results in the bowler being disallowed from bowling any further in that innings''.
Durham (from): P D Collingwood (capt), W R Smith, M D Stoneman, B A Stokes, D M Benkenstein, G J Muchall, P Mustard, S G Borthwick, C D Thorp, M E Claydon, G Onions, C Rushworth, M J Richardson.