Durham Jets coach Jon Lewis has admitted that he has had a good “selection headache” since Mark Wood’s return from injury in their Vitality Blast campaign.
The Jets qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition after beating Northamptonshire Steelbacks, but missed the chance to secure a home quarter-final in a humbling defeat to the Lancashire Lightning at Emirates Riverside last time out.
Lightning’s subsequent defeat against Birmingham Bears on Wednesday night means that Durham are guaranteed a home tie in the last eight, so the pressure is off when they host Derbyshire Falcons tonight.
Wood has taken three wickets, including a spell of 2-22 against the Lightning, since his comeback and Lewis believes that his ability to strike at the top of the order has handed Durham an extra string to their bow and has highlighted the healthy competition for places in the team.
He said: “Woody’s a great personality to have around. He lifts everybody.
“His form’s good and he bowled nicely with the white ball. He’s getting more confidence in his body.
“He was upset with the game against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham when he couldn’t contribute as he wanted to.
“Fortunately his injury wasn’t as serious as it might have been.
“He’s back on the field now and he still needs to build up some overs and build up more strength in his body before he can get back to four-day cricket.
“The T20s are going well for him and he’s providing a wicket-taking options for us, which is vital with the white ball.
“He provides the option to take wickets at the top of the innings.
“Wickets in the first six overs can really affect the outcome of T20 games.
“We’re showing smart flexibility to adapt to different situations.
“For the most part in the competition the way different players have adjusted has been a real strength.
“It’s given us a bit of a selection headache and we had one before when players like Barry McCarthy were not getting as many games as they would have liked.
“It’s a great position for us to be in.”
Lewis is hopeful that his side can learn from their defeat to Lancashire when they take on Falcons, but has insisted that he will not seek to curb his batsmen’s attacking instincts that have served them so well in the competition.
He added: “It’s obviously going to be a tough game.
“Derbyshire haven’t quite had the season that they’ve wanted, but in T20s you cannot look at the form guide. Teams at the bottom can quite turn over teams at the top quite easily
“We won’t be taking it lightly. We know that it’s an important game.
“Hopefully we have a decent crowd, decent weather and good support. We need to put in the right performance.
“We came up short against Lancashire the other day, but there’s not too much to worry about.
“We’ll learn from it, although I don’t think we need to get too panicked about it.
“We’re going to keep asking the batsmen to take the positive option when they can.That’s the line that we’re going to stick with.
“There has to be some smart decision making in the middle. There were a couple of guys the other night who had to think whether their decision making was spot on.
“I don’t think it was miles off and I don’t want the guys to change the way they’re going about things.”