Jennings missing for Durham

  • Lewis Morgan
  • 19 June 2017 09:15 AM
  • Cricket News

Durham will promote Cameron Steel to open in the absence of Keaton Jennings for the Specsavers County Championship match at home to Glamorgan today.

Jennings is returning to Canterbury to captain England Lions against South Africa on Wednesday and needs to end a run of poor form if he is to press his claims for next month's Test series.

Since starting the season with a hundred against Nottinghamshire, followed by two centuries in the first five Royal London Cup games, he has not passed 50 in 11 knocks.

The glorious run he enjoyed last season, culminating in a debut Test century, has ended with an average of 18.25 in his last eight championship innings, while Steel has begun to flourish.

The 21-year-old right-hander scored his maiden first-class century in the last home match against Northamptonshire and is averaging 40.66, second only to skipper Paul Collingwood, who is setting a hot pace with 636 runs at 63.6.

After a week off since failing to take the final wicket at Canterbury last Monday, Durham have a number of players back in contention after injury.

But the lack of second team cricket has not allowed Jack Burnham, Graham Onions, James Weighell and Usman Arshad to get back into serious action.

The seconds now have four days of cricket against Essex at the North Yorkshire club of Richmond, starting today with a one-day game.

A year ago Steel was playing for Middlesex seconds, along with Max Holden, who as a loan player with Northants also scored his maiden century in the last match at Emirates Riverside.

With his itinerant parents, 21-year-old Steel spent the first two years of his life in California, then had a good grounding in cricket at Millfield School, then Scotch College in Perth.

While in Australia he was coached by Mike Hirsch, who had also spent English summers coaching at Durham School.

“He told me what a beautiful place Durham was and I was also attracted by the university centre of excellence scheme giving me a chance to study and develop my cricket.”

Steel played two gritty innings for the university against Durham, so they were well aware of his adhesive qualities when they signed him at the end of last season. But he also showed a pleasing array of strokes in scoring his second 50 off 63 balls against Northants.

Michael Richardson will return after being left out at Canterbury to accommodate an extra bowler and Paul Coughlin is also expected to be included after being rested following his ten-wicket haul against Northants.

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