DURHAM’S changing of the guard is not over yet, but Stephen Harmison is confident the philosophy they helped create will outlive the senior players.
Michael Di Venuto retired in 2012 and Ian Blackwell is expected to follow suit soon after a shoulder injury.
Harmison is in the last year of his contract and believes the club’s captains – four-day skipper Paul Collingwood and limited-overs counterpart Dale Benkenstein – could be one injury from quitting too.
The one person Harmison can never imagine retiring is coach Geoff Cook, and that – along with youngsters like Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick – gives him hope for Durham’s future.
He said: “The fundamentals will still be here.
“The structure’s still the same, it is where Geoff wants us to go.
“It doesn’t matter whether the captain is Paul, Philip (Mustard), Will (Smith) before him or Dale.
“We know what’s relevant and what’s not, what’s acceptable and what’s not.
“What gets me excited is seeing Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick winning games for Durham.
“These lads are getting better and better by having the likes of me, Colly, Dale and Callum Thorp around them.”
Harmison hopes this will not be his last season at Durham but knows it probably will.
At 36, Collingwood is two years older, Benkenstein four.
Harmison added: “It’s very much wait and see.
“Dale’s in that position, Paul is. Both Dale and Paul had two bad injuries in the last two years.
“If Paul’s knee goes again, or Dale’s shoulder, that could be it for them.
“We want to carry on playing but we could be better used in other avenues.”
Durham badly disappointed in the first half of last season. Harmison, who played second-team cricket for most of it, blames an inability to make full use of their academy.
He said: “Last season I travelled to six second-team games where we played to lunch on every first day and didn’t play after that.
“How can that second team put pressure on the first team?
“Hopefully, we can have a better start to the summer (in terms of weather) and we can start well.
“We showed once we get on a roll, there are not many better teams.”
For more information on Harmison’s benefit, visit www.harmy611benefit.co.uk.