October 08, 1982, Sunderland, Co Durham
Also Known As
Left hand bat
Phil Mustard, a character cricketer much loved by Durham supporters, was for a time touted as a solution to England's search for a wicketkeeper with batting dash in one-day cricket. Sporadic comparisons with Australia's Adam Gilchrist were understandable - both were left-handed wicketkeeper-batsmen capable of savaging an attack - and while nobody, not least himself, ever claimed he would reach the same heights, at his best he had a simple eye for destruction and was always eminently watchable. He was also more resilient than might have been imagined for such a socially relaxed individual: nobody had played more first-class games for Durham until Paul Collingwood overtook him.
Mustard, a former England U-19, enjoyed a superb 2007 as Durham won their first two trophies, scoring 893 List A runs at 49.61, including a breezy 49 in the county's first Lord's final. Off the back of such a successful summer, he was called up to replace the injured Matt Prior for England's one-day series against Sri Lanka in October 2007. And although he kept beautifully, his highest score opening the batting was 28. He was still named as back-up keeper to Prior for the subsequent Test series in Sri Lanka and again acted as understudy during the New Zealand Tests, this time to Tim Ambrose. In the ODI series that followed Mustard returned to the side and finally made his mark with 83 from 74 balls in a dramatic tied game in Napier. But one half-century was not enough to retain his place for that summer's ODIs as Ambrose kept against New Zealand and Prior returned for the South Africa series.
The subsequent emergence of Craig Kieswetter, followed by many others, put an end to his England hopes but domestically, Mustard continued to perform in domestic one-day cricket with distinction. In first-class cricket, Mustard did not produce the consistent performances he managed in the limited-overs formats
Captaincy had rarely been on his mind, but Durham turned to him early in the 2010 season when Will Smith, a good tactician whose authority was undermined by slim personal returns with the bat, was persuaded to resign during a coach journey north from a heavy defeat at Trent Bridge. Mustard, known universally as The Colonel after the character in the Cluedo board game, averaged close to 40 again and more importantly steadied the ship as Durham finished fifth in the County Championship.
2011 was his first full year as four-day captain (Dale Benkenstein took over the one-day role) and Mustard enjoyed a fine campaign, scoring 716 runs at 51.14 as Durham looked strong favourites for a third title in four seasons. But, coupled with a turn in the north-eastern weather, their challenge faded towards the end of the season as Twenty20 quarter-final and CB40 semi-final defeats added to the disappointment.
And the poor form ran into 2012 as Durham endured a disastrous first-half to the season and, rooted to the bottom of the table, Paul Collingwood took over as captain. He conjured a miraculous recovery that led Durham to the safety of mid-table but Mustard returned the second-worst figures of his career with 482 runs at just 21.90 with one half-century. He was more like his old self as Durham won the title the following summer and even took his first first-class wicket in a lighthearted finish to the season when he trapped the England one-day batsman, Luke Wright, lbw with a quicker-slower one. When his form declined markedly in 2015, he briefly answered Lancashire's urgent need for a keeper with a short loan deal. Gloucestershire also enticed him on loan in 2016 and, as Durham signalled that he would be released, successfully offered him a two-year deal at the end of the season. When Gareth Roderick missed the start of 2017 because of illness, much to his surprise he even found hmself captain again.
Mustard also played Twenty20 cricket abroad in the off season. He represented Barisal Burners in the Bangladesh Premier League and Mountaineers in Zimbabwe in the 2011-12 season, scoring 56 in the final to help the latter win their domestic title. He had hoped to play in the Pakistan Premier League, but Durham refused to endorse a No Objections Certificate amid concerns over security.
A talented all-round sportsman, Mustard was at Manchester United for two years until he was 13 and then with Middlesbrough until he was 15.
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