DURHAM can lose at Surrey today and still qualify for Sunday’s semi-finals of the CB40. But coach Geoff Cook views today’s televised game as an important test of his squad’s character.
It has been a bad few weeks for the Riversiders.
Three weeks ago they were knocked out of the Twenty20 Cup quarter-finals at Hampshire. Last week their winless run in the County Championship extended to four matches – three of them lost – to all but count them out of the title race.
Redemption is at hand, though, with an end-of-season Lord’s final still open to them. Cook is demanding they get over recent disappointments and book what will be only the third major semi-final in the county’s history.
“Hopefully we’ve got 11 days’ cricket left – we’ve certainly got 10,” he said. “We just want the lads to come back with a lot of pride and a lot of determination.
“That’s certainly something I’m looking forward to seeing – exactly who wants to try and win some games for Durham. The first two thirds of the season were excellent, now we want to try and recapture those levels.
“It has been a bit fragmented with injuries and people being away on international calls etc, but that just makes extra demands on the character of the team. Over the next three weeks we’ve got to see that.”
With Surrey the only team to have confirmed their place in the semi-finals, Durham are hoping to go through as the best second-placed side from the three qualifying groups. Victory (or a washout) at The Oval will confirm it, as will defeats for Nottinghamshire at home to Lancashire and Essex at Somerset.