Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAN ON A MISSION; Collingwood's Brief - Keep Durham Up County Cricket

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAN ON A MISSION; Collingwood's Brief - Keep Durham Up County Cricket

Article excerpt

PAUL Collingwood begins his captaincy of Durham's four-day team with one simple objective - to avoid relegation.

After the extended mid-season break for the T20 group stage, the County Championship starts up again today.

Winless Durham are rock bottom of Division One having played exactly half of their fixtures.

After such a poor start, the club's chief executive David Harker decided to take action, sacking Phil Mustard as captain of the championship side and appointing Collingwood as his replacement.

The former England all-rounder was set to start his reign today with a must-win clash against secondbottom Worcestershire at New Road. Harker explained his reasons for making the switch and expects it to be the last such change until 2015 at the earliest.

"Paul's a very bubbly sort of character and what we need now is a bit of a lift," he said.

"Phil was doing the best he can and was probably trying to get the same message over across a period of time.

"Having a fresh face coming in to deliver those messages will hopefully give us what we need in terms of kicking on.

"Paul's under contract with us for another two-and-a-half years so I would hope he would be our captain for at least the next twoand-a-half years.

"It's not a decision we make lightly," he added, "it's not something you would ever choose to do.

"But sometimes you've got to do what you believe is in the best interests of the club. There was a natural break in the season where if we were going to make a change, now was the time to do it.

"The view was it was time to make a change. Phil was perfectly prepared to step down and do what is hopefully in the best interests of the team.

"The way the season is formatted, with a break for Twenty20, we have chapter three still to come and if we get a couple of decent results at the back end of the season, we can quickly move up the table. …

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