Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No One at Durham Is Hiding from Fact This Was a Season of Frustration and Angst; Durham Were Sloppy in the County Championship, Distinctly Average in One-Day Cricket and Pretty Dreadful in Their Twenty20 Competition. Chief Sports Writer Luke Edwards Looks at What Is Likely to Happen over the Winter

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No One at Durham Is Hiding from Fact This Was a Season of Frustration and Angst; Durham Were Sloppy in the County Championship, Distinctly Average in One-Day Cricket and Pretty Dreadful in Their Twenty20 Competition. Chief Sports Writer Luke Edwards Looks at What Is Likely to Happen over the Winter

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

IT is always better to let the dust settle before you make any hasty decisions, but if you let it settle for too long you might no longer be able to see the problems that need solving.

Durham have plenty of issues to clear up over the next few weeks after a season which began slowly, ground to a halt in mid-summer and limped over the line in September. It has not been a disastrous campaign, but it has been a worrying one. Relegation was avoided, but for the first time in four years Durham have not had a trophy to celebrate.

Given English cricket's newest first class county only secured its first piece of silverware in 2007 and was generally perceived as a new addition to make up the numbers before that momentous occasion at Lord's, nobody should be up in arms.

Nevertheless, ambition has never been in short supply at Chester-le-Street and the fact Durham fell backwards in all forms of the game this year will be enough to ensure a root and branch investigation into what has gone wrong.

It will be swift and it will be thorough, although do not expect there to be a radical overhaul. There is little or no money to spend on new players - hence the announcement from chairman Clive Leach earlier this month that they do not envisage signing an overseas player again in 2011 - and there is not a willingness to drastically overhaul the side.

"There is no disguising the fact we have under-performed," said Cook. "If you look at the end of season stats, we've had less hundreds and less five wicket hauls. We've had less 100 partnerships and we have taken fewer wickets. As a team we did not perform consistently enough.

"We can use injuries as an excuse to an extent, and we need to make sure the players come back in better shape to cope with the demands of a long hard season, but the guys who came in lacked consistency.

"If you look at the end product, it was an inferior to what we have had in the last couple of years, but you must keep reminding yourself that the team was changing. There were a lot more younger players in there this season.

"We had to lower expectations because of that, but I think there is a collective desire and determination to put things right next season. I think the players have been hurt by what has happened.

"Cricket isn't going to be a progressive graph all of the time, there are going to be peaks and troughs, but we have got young cricketers here, the likes of Scott Borthwick and Ben Stokes, who are going to be a lot better for the experience they have gained this year."

Cook is right, but that does not mean we can just sweep the settling dust under the carpet and hope everything is clean and tidy again in the spring.

In limited overs cricket, there does not appear to have been any significant improvement over the last two years and this cannot be allowed to continue even if Durham's main priority remains the four day competition. …

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