A strong Second XI has been named for Scotland's visit
Newly-appointed Second XI coach Neil Killeen cannot wait to finally get some outdoor cricket against Scotland (11am start) after a pre-season of frustrations.
The victory over Northumberland in a 45-over friendly at Emirates Riverside on Sunday was one of few outdoor ventures after rain put paid to four previously arranged fixtures.
There was a limited amount of action during the one-day fixture with Durham MCCU’s Second XI but the match was abandoned along with both days of a hastily re-arranged game after continual downpours.
It has restricted many of his squad to indoor sessions but Killeen praised his squad and believes the Northumberland friendly was more than a worthwhile exercise ahead of the Championship opener.
“The attitude from the lads has been really good, they’ve got on with their work and worked hard with in the gym on their strength and conditioning,” Killeen said. “We’ve done a couple of practices indoors as well, working on specific skills and just keeping them ticking.
“The lads aren’t keen to get back indoors after being out on grass so it was nice to get out and play a game.
“We had some good performances – Phil Mustard scoring 79, Graham Clark with 87 - and then we bowled exceptionally well. The lads picked up a couple of wickets each, got five or six over spells in which is exactly what we wanted to get out of the game.”
Scotland have included some experienced names among their squad for the three-day friendly.
Ex-Durham batsman Kyle Coetzer will captain a side containing the likes of Preston Mommsen, Alasdair Evans and Richie Berrington, all of whom have featured in full internationals, while Durham’s Gavin Main is also set to be involved.
But Killeen is looking for his players to execute their skills and get off to a winning start with a string of fixtures on the road coming up.
“It’s more really about what we really get out of our performances rather than what they will do,” he said. “We’ve got to get into the format of playing longer form cricket, so batters have got to spend long periods in the middle and bowlers have got to get back to doing the basics and hitting the top of off stump.
“That should stand us in good stead for the next three weeks on the road."
Killeen has a strong 12-man squad to choose from and entry is free for the game at Emirates Riverside.
Durham 2nd XI squad vs Scotland (19-21 April):
Graham Clark, Phil Mustard, Gordon Muchall, Calum MacLeod, Stuart Poynter (wk), Paul Coughlin, James Weighell (c), Usman Arshad, Gurman Randhawa, Jamie Harrison, Barry McCarthy, Asher Hart.