Benkenstein pre tournament press conference
Twenty20 captain Dale Benkenstein says Durham are ready and raring to go as they prepare to take to the field for the first time in 2012 today
The Dynamos face a Combined Universities side in a 40-over match before taking part in the five-team Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition at Dubai's Sevens Complex tomorrow.
Benkenstein, who scored just shy of 2,000 runs in all forms of county cricket last summer, has recently returned from South Africa with members of Durham's pace bowling attack and the Academy.
Everything's getting underway now, and it reminds the body that there's work that needs to be done," said Benkenstein, speaking at the competition launch at a Porsche dealership in Dubai yesterday.
"Everybody's been dying to get out of the indoor school, and the facilities here are top drawer. The weather's always fantastic. We get looked after very well."
Benkenstein has also hailed Durham's schedule whilst in the desert, with them also playing Sussex in a 40-over contest and a two-day match next week before they head back to the North East.
The batting all-rounder said: "When you come on a pre-season tour, getting cricket is the main thing. But knowing that you're going to get cricket against some quality opposition is an added bonus. After six months off, you tend to forget what a real battle is all about."
Along with the absence of Paul Collingwood and Herschelle Gibbs, Michael Di Venuto is still on international duty with Italy as they complete their World T20 qualifying tournament, although he will join up with the team in due course.
And Callum Thorp is still recovering from knee surgery, although Benkenstein says there is "an outside chance" he could play before the end of the tour.
As for tomorrow's competition, Benkenstein is keen for his men to lay down an early marker.
He added: "There's some big international names in the competition, and it would be great if we could win it. We played some really good cricket in all forms last year, and it was frustrating that we didn't pick up any silverware."
For regular updates please follow @durhamcricket on Twitter. The 12 man team named for the 40 over game v MCC is Smith, Stoneman, Blackwell, Muchall, Stokes, Richardson, BOrthwick, Onions, Harmison, Plunkett, Claydon and Benkenstein.