County news July 26, 2016

Stoneman departs for Surrey, Collingwood signs on

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Mark Stoneman will play his cricket for Surrey next season © Getty Images

Mark Stoneman, Durham's highly rated opening batsman, will join Surrey at the end of the season after turning down the offer of a new contract. The decision is a blow to Durham, with Stoneman having come through the club's academy to captain the side in limited-overs cricket.

Stoneman will link up with former Durham team-mate Mark Di Venuto, who is now Surrey's head coach. He could be followed by more high-profile departures due to the straitened financial circumstances at Durham, with Scott Borthwick, Mark Wood and Keaton Jennings among the most high-profile players out of contract at the end of the season.

Both Stoneman and Borthwick have featured in recent discussions for England selection and the county would benefit from ECB payments for their development even if they were to be called up after switching clubs.

Despite traditionally tough batting surfaces at Chester-le-Street, Stoneman has flourished over the last few years, passing 1000 first-class runs in each season since 2013. His first-class average is just 32.11 but he has been mentioned as a possible Test opening partner for Alastair Cook. In List A cricket, Stoneman averages 40.17 and led Durham to victory in the Royal London Cup two years ago.

The 29-year-old indicated that a desire to win over the England selectors contributed to his decision to move south, despite being offered a two-year deal by Durham.

"Joining Surrey under the guidance of long-time mentor Michael Di Venuto and Alec Stewart will provide the platform to reach new levels with my batting," Stoneman said. "It is a fantastic opportunity to join a young and exciting squad. I am very excited for the years ahead at the Kia Oval which is a great Test match venue and I hope my experience can contribute to a period of success for Surrey CCC.

"The desire to play for England is as strong as it has ever been and I feel that now is the right time to accept a new challenge in an environment which will hopefully see me fulfil the dream of playing for England."

Durham have also allowed Phil Mustard to leave, with his contract up at the end of the season, but Paul Collingwood will continue to play on. Collingwood, captain of the Championship side, has agreed another one-year extension, which will take him into his 22nd year as a professional.

Collingwood, 40, is currently averaging 50.66 in the Championship and saw Durham move up to second in the Division One table after a hard-fought victory over Lancashire at Southport last week.

"I am so proud to still be playing for my home county who have given me the perfect environment to fulfil all of my cricketing dreams," Collingwood said. "I feel that I can continue to contribute to the team and I really want to help develop the next generation of Durham cricketers.

"I know that this club still has so much to offer English cricket and I continue to be excited by the young talent coming through the ranks."

Mustard, who is in his benefit year, will join Gloucestershire on loan until the end of the season, meaning he is likely to miss out on a farewell T20 appearance at Chester-le-Street. The 33-year-old lost his place in the Championship team last year, briefly joining Lancashire on loan, and although he has continued to be a leading limted-overs performer, Durham have been unable to afford a new deal for him.

He joins Gloucestershire as cover for Gareth Roderick, who suffered a finger dislocation that required surgery and is expected to be out for six weeks.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Kevin Mackintosh on July 28, 2016, 17:57 GMT

    jackiethepen on July 27, 2016, 20:00 GMT

    What you are saying is that as a contract is about to expire, one county isn't allowed to offer a better wage and a cricketer isn't allowed to consider a better offer? Funny world you live in. Surely, anyone in any walk of life would consider their pay and challenge of their current job, and if a better offer was made from elsewhere they would consider changing employers? Why not cricketers? If you can't understand that logic, you live in a very strange world.

  • Danny on July 28, 2016, 11:58 GMT

    GeoffreysMother. to be fair, Harinath is 29. Promising talent?

    Surrey, in my opinion, are not as bad people make out for this. They are giving players like Roy, Burns, Sibley, Ansari and a rack of bowlers like Meeker, the Currans, Dunn the chance to play and develop.

    Many of their side are developed at home at the moment.

  • Jackie on July 27, 2016, 20:00 GMT

    Let's get this straight. Stoneman and Borthwick have been offered new contracts by Durham. They are not 'out of contract' - their current contracts last until the end of the season. Surrey came fishing with cheque books before any new signing could take place. Surrey apparently can't develop their own cricketers so they have to poach players from Counties who have invested in them since they were young lads. There is such a thing as club loyalty. Durham isn't in the 2nd Division and has a long roll call of players who have been spotted and called up for England. So how come Stoneman has to move to Surrey to get 'noticed'? Durham has been a shining example as a club. Penalised because it isn't in the wealthy heartlands of London - but still far sturdier when it comes to producing fine players! How should a club be judged? If Surrey had a better development system they wouldn't need to wave their cheque books at players. Colly is the real hero.

  • rokerb4310721 on July 27, 2016, 19:58 GMT

    Good luck to Mark. He genuinely deserves a chance with England & if he feels that this is achieved at another club then so be it. As a Durham member I do find that theclub do not communicate their plans in relation to the squad particularly well to their members.

  • Ed on July 27, 2016, 14:12 GMT

    Commitment to your Club can only go so far before commitment to your family takes over.

  • Graham on July 27, 2016, 13:39 GMT

    This tends to suggest Harinath should look for a new county, as Burns is highly thought of. And also means Jason Roy isn't going to attempt to open in first-class cricket to give him more chance of a Test call up. That bit I don't understand... to me, he is a better player than Hales and consistent runs up top for Surrey might give him a strong chance of opening for England. If Warner can make a success of it, so could Roy. No blame on Stoneman at all. He's been loyal and given a lot to Durham but England won't pick him or Borthwick while they are playing half their games in conditions that you rarely see in Test cricket. I wouldn't be surprised to see Somerset approach Borthwick given their top 3 currently includes a 40-year old an overseas who is nearly as old and a 33-year old Kolpak. Tom Abell will come in again but Borthwick could be a good signing for them.

  • Stuart on July 27, 2016, 10:49 GMT

    Is it Surrey's fault that Durham are in a financial mess and can't pay Stoneman the wages he deserves in a new contract? He's 29, wants a better deal and new challenge and knows this is his one big chance at securing a well-paid contract. Who can blame him? As for the comment about moving to London and getting picked for England. How can that be justified when the last test features only Cook and Vince from southern counties, neither of whom are London-based?

  • Pete on July 27, 2016, 10:44 GMT

    I really don't understand the moaning with regards to out of contract players moving to other clubs, thems the rules. If another company, in my line of work, offered me a better deal I'd have to consider it.

  • Sanjay on July 27, 2016, 10:15 GMT

    Typical Surrey. Just mention any player that's out of a contract and they'll be in like vultures. That's as long as Notts don't get in before them. These two counties have been behaving like football clubs for quite some time. Yup, you're right, Geoffrey's Mum, it's "cheque book team building". I'll disagree on the England prospects tho, the old London club is alive and strong: Play for the southern counties and you double your chances of playing for England.

  • GeoffreysMother on July 27, 2016, 7:45 GMT

    I know it is a financial decision but it is a crying shame that that a home grown player leaves his county to join a less successful club to ' further his England prospects'. It also seems as if Graham Ford's commendable 'home grown' policy at Surrey is being dismantled pretty quickly and replaced by their old tried and failed cheque book team building. It doesn't say much for De Venuto's ability to develop promising talents like Harinath, Sibley and Burns.

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