Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Callum Gives Durham Edge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Callum Gives Durham Edge

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

THERE has been plenty of debate regarding the pros and cons of Kolpak signings in county cricket, but if anyone needs an example of the positive impact they should look no further than Callum Thorp, whose five-wicket haul put Durham on top against Hampshire yesterday.

Nobody can argue that Durham have done their bit for English cricket in recent years with four home-grown players playing internationals in the last 12 months. And Thorp's presence - despite arguments to the contrary - at the Riverside has not damaged their progress.

Instead, the 33-year-old has provided useful cover for the bowlers when they have been away with England or, as is the case now with Liam Plunkett and Graham Onions, when they are injured. On form like this, he also ensures Durham's England seamers cannot afford to let their standards slip and that, surely, can only be a good thing for country and county.

If there is a young Durham bowler who quietly feels his career is being held back by the Australian import he should realise a county side remains a meritocracy and it is up to him to raise his own standards to force a rival, regardless of nationality, out of the side.

While some counties have abused the Kolpak rule by filling their side with foreign players, Thorp complements the domestic players who continue to emerge from the club's Academy set up and, free of injury, he is a potent weapon in the Durham attack.

Thorp is a quiet guy, but he is a popular figure in the dressing room and there will have been delight at seeing the affable Western Australian pick up his first fivewicket haul of the season. Certainly, as with captain Dale Benkenstein, opener Michael Di Venuto and spinners Gareth Breese and Paul Wiseman, nobody resents their presence - even if they are here because of a legal loophole.

Thorp thoroughly deserved the plaudits on the first day of this County Championship game. Bowling straight and with typical accuracy, he was not afraid to tempt the batsmen to hit him off the pads towards the short boundary in front of Lumley Castle. …

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