DURHAM must hit the ground running when they open their T20 campaign at home to Lancashire Lightning tonight, says Gordon Muchall.
The South Shields-born batsman believes momentum is vital in the shortest from of the game, and is hoping that the Dynamos can open their camapign with a win at the Emirates ICG (5.30pm start).
Muchall said: “I think in this competition getting some momentum going early on can make a big difference.
“Obviously there’s more opportunities to go through to the next stage in the 40-over contest, but if you start well it gives you something to build on, and winning breeds confidence.
“I think the way the game is going now, guys are getting a bit of freedom to express themselves, and are going for it from ball one.
“So you know that you have to try to start well, and take things from there.”
Due to financial restrictions, Durham go into this season’s contest without an overseas professional, but Muchall insists that could be more of a help than a hindrance.
“Normally when the overseas star comes in you end up jiggling the batting order around,” he said.
“We haven’t got that this year, and that could be a good thing for us.
“I think with things going so well in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition, the lads know their roles, and hopefully when the T20 starts tonight we won’t have to work our way into it.
“We want to do well in every competition, and hopefully with the mix of experience and youth, we have a good mix.”
Durham certainly have experience in the form of 37-year-old skipper Paul Collingwood, who captains the T20 squad in the absence of Dale Benkenstein, who is still recovering from injury.
Collingwood captained England to victory in the T20 World Cup, and Muchall says it’s great to have the all-rounder leading the troops into battle.
“Colly came in as captain in the four-day stuff and changed things around,” he said. “He’s got the lads all pulling in the same direction, and he’s got us playing some good cricket, so he’s been brilliant really.
“Rocky (Mark Stoneman) has being doing a good job as skipper (standing in for Benkenstein) in the 40 over games, but I don’t think he’s played that much T20 stuff, so it is good to have Colly skippering the side with all of his experience.”
As well as hoping the team gets off to a good start, Muchall is hoping for success on a personal level.
And he is hoping his one-day role can help in the more explosive form of the game.
He said: ““I have been batting at No6 in the 40-over stuff, which has meant I have been coming in with about 10 overs to go, and having to go from ball one.
“That should mean the T20 is pretty similar to my role in the YB40, so hopefully that will stand me in good stead.
“We have also had a couple of T20 matches in the second team, and chased down some big scores, which should mean we are up to speed.”
Durham squad: Mark Stoneman, Phil Mustard, Scott Borthwick, Paul Collingwood (c), Gordon Muchall, Callum Thorp, Jamie Harrison, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Ryan Pringle, Mark Wood, Chris Rushworth, Max Morley