Durham are big losers after IPL auction
Durham are the big losers among the sides in the First Division of the Championship after the IPL auction as they contemplate life without their strapping Australian allrounder John Hastings.
Not only will they lose Hastings for the duration of IPL, he is now in so much demand that he is likely to have shoulder surgery immediately after the campaign which could exclude him from the entire Championship season.
It is a major blow for Durham, who have limited funds available and who had in Hastings one of the best-value overseas players on the circuit. Hastings took 76 wickets in all competitions for Durham in 2016 as well as chipping in with sturdy late-order runs.
That form, though, has attracted attention from Australia, who drafted him into their ODI squad fagainst England last summer to address a mounting injury crisis as he approached 30, bringing him ODI caps alongside his sole Test against South Africa in Perth in 2010.
An eye-catching spell in the Big Bash, where he finished as the leading wicket taker, suggests he will be in Australia's plans for the World Twenty20 Championships in India next month as well as winning him a $100,000 contract in IPL with Kolkata Knight Riders, much to Durham's dismay. Then came news of a planned shoulder operation, with the English season the one to suffer.
"He's going to need surgery followed by some period of rehab which is going to take him out of all if not most of our season," Jon Lewis, Durham's coach, told BBC Newcastle.
"He's a difficult guy to fill. It comes down to finding the person who can fulfil the roles he did for us in terms of the overs that he bowled. In the white ball stuff he's one of the leading bowlers.
"Last year I was concerned with overworking young seamers but they are now a year older and maybe we can look to get more out of them."
Durham have explored the possibility of signing Kagiso Rabada, but Rabada would not be prepared to fulfil the long-term, onerous responsibilities carried by Hastings. The list of available batsmen is considerably larger than potential seam bowlers, which might force a shift in policy, although a quick perusal of the IPL unsold list suggests that Durham could take a punt on someone like the bullish South African Hardus Viljoen.
They have also been in talks with Shoaib Malik, the former Pakistan allrounder, but he would be more likely to fill an overseas role in the NatWest Blast.