Ben Duckett will replace Richard Levi in the Steelbacks’ line-up for the Friends Life t20 quarter-final clash with Durham tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.10pm).
The 18-year-old was unavailable for the Championship game against Gloucestershire this week due to his commitments with England Under-19s but he has been released to face the north-easterners in the first knockout fixture to be staged at the County Ground in four years.
There was a suggestion that Levi’s place could be taken by David Sales on the back of his mammoth 255 over the weekend but the hierarchy have opted to stick woth the group of players who have got them this far.
Head coach David Ripley said: “We had a word with England and they gave us the all clear to play Ben.
“It was tempting to go with David (Sales) after 400 runs in a week but he’s got a bit of an ankle problem and we don’t really want to risk him.
“The last thing we want to do is for him to pick up an injury and our first thought was Ben so we’ll be going with him.”
As to where he will bat, Ripley stated that it won’t be up front against the new ball in place of the absent Richard Levi.
He added: “Ben will sit in the middle, he’s a good player of spin which is the reason for that.
“We’ll have a bit of practice in the morning and make a decision after that.”
As for the opposition, Ripley is aware of the fact that they will arrive full of confidence after a good run of form - four wins on the bounce - propelled them into the knockout stages.
“We’d have probably picked them in the draw and they would have picked us,” he said.
“They’ve got some dangerous players such as (Ben) Stokes and (Phil) Mustard with a more workmanlike bowling attack.
“They’ve played some good cricket to get this far and have been in good form and I think it will be an evenly-matched game.”
Paul Collingwood will be back in the Durham squad after returning from injury in the recent Championship defeat to Middlesex.
Steelbacks from: Wakely, Coetzer, Duckett, White, Crook, Willey, Hall, Spriegel, Murphy, Daggett, Azharullah, Middlebrook.
Durham from: Collingwood, Stoneman, Mustard, Borthwick, Smith, Stokes, Muchall, Breese, Pringle, Richardson, Rushworth, Onions, Wood.