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Jennings in line for his Durham bow
DURHAM are to hand Keaton Jennings his English first-class debut in the home match against Surrey, starting today, after his registration was finally cleared by the ECB.
The former South Africa Under 19s captain was to have played against Australia A last week, but he was told he would have to go to London to give a verbal commitment to pursuing a first-class career in this country.
If career-best figures of seven for 52 against Australia A were not sufficient to earn Blackwell a recall for such a vital game it seems there are deeper issues involved than his state of fitness.
If Durham win they will be neck and neck with Surrey and will move ahead of Lancashire, who have no game this week. Worcestershire, who are six points ahead of Durham, face a tough game against leaders Warwickshire then entertain Lancashire next week.
Surrey are without Stuart Meaker, who is in the England Lions squad for two games against Australia A, but fellow paceman Jade Dernbach returns after injury.
Ex-Gloucestershire player Jon Lewis, Tim Linley and Chris Jordan complete a useful seam attack, but the batting lacks experience.
Although skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown made his comeback in a CB 40 match last week, he is not yet ready for four-day action following the death of his flatmate, Matthew Maynard.
However, Director of Cricket Chris Adams is confident that the young batsmen will rise to the challenge. "This is a very young and exciting squad with a larger number of players who have come through the Surrey system," he said.
"Zafar Ansari, Arun Harinath, Jason Roy and Rory Burns all showed their talent and character against Warwickshire at Edgbaston."
Surrey are currently captained by former Worcestershire off-spinner Gareth Batty.
Durham (from): P D Collingwood (capt), W R Smith, M D Stoneman, K K Jennings, B A Stokes, D M Benkenstein, P Mustard, S G Borthwick, C D Thorp, C Rushworth, G Onions, M A Wood.