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Paul Collingwood tips Durham trio to follow Ben Stokes into 'cruel' international cricket; As Ben Stokes found out, international cricket can be unforgiving - but it will not stop Durham players wanting to play it.

Byline: Stuart Rayner

International cricket has been cruel on Ben Stokes this week -- but it will not stop the next generation of Durham wannabes trying to follow him into it.

With the England all-rounder rested for Sunday's County Championship opener at home to Somerset, and fast bowler Mark Wood nervously waiting to discover if he needs another ankle operation, it will be down to Durham's future England players to lead the way on the season's opening day.

Stokes found out how tough the highest level can be, conceding four consecutive sixes in a final over which won the World Twenty20 Championship for West Indies.

"I've always said, cricket is one of the cruellest sports you could play," said Durham captain Paul Collingwood, who was on England's coaching staff for the tournament. "That was highlighted in that last over.

"It is a brutal game. Mentally it can be as tough as any sport.

"A World Cup final, going into the last over defending 19, it is a boyhood dream. For that to be shattered in four balls, it can be quite cruel.

"But he (Stokes) is the sort of character that won't shy away from it. He will definitely go head-first into another challenge like that in the future, and why not?

"He is a young guy, he has performed admirably over the winter -- the stuff that he did in South Africa was amazing.

"He could be a real legend of the game."

With England's Test match top-order far from nailed on, Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick should be looking to push their claims to be Durham's next international star (Sunderland-born Borthwick is a one-cap wonder).

As county cricket's most valuable player last year, seamer Chris Rushworth should also have a good chance, but the selectors seem put off by his lack of express pace.

"I think Mark and Chris would have a good chance of playing internationally, and I would say that about Scott Borthwick too," says Collingwood, Durham's most capped player.

"If people keep on scoring runs or taking wickets, then the selectors will look at them. It's as simple as that.

"If they continue doing what they have done over the past few seasons, they can't be ignored.

"If they do, it will give us a good chance to win things here."

Brydon Carse, a 20-year-old South African, is in line to make his Championship debut on Sunday.

DURHAM (from): Stoneman, Jennings, Borthwick, Collingwood (c), Richardson (wk), Burnham, Muchall, Pringle, Arshad, Carse, Rushworth, Onions


Credit: 2015 Getty Images

Durham captain Paul Collingwood

Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ben Stokes of England in action

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2016
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