Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Pressure to Look Abroad for Durham

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Pressure to Look Abroad for Durham

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer

DURHAM are still searching for an overseas player for 2016, but with English reinforcements expected in April, they will not be putting themselves under pressure to get it done for the start of the season.

The Riversiders have not completely ruled out Australian all-rounder John Hastings returning for an end-of-summer cameo, but the odds are against it.

Coach Jon Lewis is "optimistic" somebody could take his place when the County Championship kicks off on April 10, but even if not, they could still have an extra international bowler in their ranks in Mark Wood.

The Ashington-born fast bowler had an ankle operation after England's tour of the United Arab Emirates, and is expected to play in the season's first three Championship games to prove his fitness ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, which starts on May 19.

"I'd say I was optimistic of getting someone in for the start of the season - hopefully," said Lewis.

"It might not be too pressing at the start of the season because hopefully we will see more of our England players then. I would imagine (Ben) Stokes would need a rest at some point but he's going to want some form of cricket before the first Test.

"With Wood, they want some cricket behind him so I'm pretty confident we're going to see something of him."

Since Hastings joined the Indian Premier League, overseas players such as Kagiso Rabada, Tom Latham (both Kent), Chris Morris (Surrey), Shahid Afridi (Hampshire) and Jackson Bird (Nottinghamshire) have signed up to play county cricket this summer.

Hastings will have a shoulder operation this year.

"I have been in touch with him pretty consistently and we're pretty open with each other," said Lewis.

"He's going to have his operation either after the World Cup or if he can, after the IPL. …

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