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Pollock available for showdown

An assurance that Shaun Pollock will be available yesterday softened the blow for Durham of having to play Nottinghamshire in a Twenty20 Cup quarter-final.

It will take place either tomorrow week or the following day during the second Test between England and South Africa at Headingley, when Pollock was due to be commentating for Sky.

But they have agreed to release him for the match, which will reduce the inconvenience Durham are suffering through no fault of their own.

As Nottinghamshire start a championship match at Headingley on the Tuesday, the Twenty20 match will probably have to be played on Sunday to allow Monday to be set aside as the reserve day.

The Twenty20 semi-finals and final are to be held at Hampshires Rose Bowl ground the following Saturday (July 26) and if they get through for the first time Durham will face Middlesex, while Kent face Essex.

But when the draw was made on Sky at lunchtime in the Test yesterday they were still saying that Yorkshire or Glamorgan could be involved as both were expected to appeal against the decision to reinstate Nottinghamshire.

The farcical nature of the situation is underlined by the fact that Nottinghamshire are allowed to play New Zealander Andre Adams on the grounds that having a West Indian parent makes him eligible as a Kolpak signing.

If the quarter-final is played on the Sunday it will involve both counties in rearranging Pro40 League matches.

Durham are due to play Middlesex at Uxbridge, following four days at Guildford, and Nottinghamshire are at home to Hampshire.

Although Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be available for the quarter-final, Durham feel the rearrangement has left them at a disadvantage because the men they signed specifically for the competition, Pollock and Albie Morkel, would both have played had the match against Yorkshire gone ahead as scheduled.

Following the abandonment because of Yorkshire fielding an ineligible player at Trent Bridge, the ECB decided to reinstate Nottinghamshire and Durhams chief executive David Harker said: Its not the result we wanted at all.

We wanted to proceed straight to the finals day, not because we thought that was a good way to get to a final, but we recognised that a rearranged fixture was going to cause major problems in terms of fitting it into our fixture list. It also places us at a disadvantage without Morkel.

The ECB and Yorkshire put their cases forward, then Nottinghamshire and ourselves were asked to make a statement.

Im disappointed about the whole affair. The whole thing is a pretty sorry situation. To be geared up to play a game then have to cancel it just before it is due to start is embarrassing.

There isnt a satisfactory outcome C nothing that could have come out of the hearing would have made us happy.

The challenge now is to try to get over this.

We have already put the case that we are being unduly punished for something that had nothing to do with us. We dont have anything new to add so I dont think an appeal would be successful.

Its an embarrassing affair for cricket. My major worry is that Twenty20 attracts a new audience to the sport. People have come to the ground for the first time looking forward to finding out what Twenty20 cricket is all about.

We have generated a bit of momentum behind the game, but most people will have gone home completely bemused by it all and the major challenge we have is trying to pick up the pieces after that.

Our relationship with the ECB, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire is fairly cordial. We have had disagreements about how it has been handled, but we have to deal with these things in a professional manner. These regulations are very valid and very important, but we must look at how they impact on the spectators and their enjoyment.

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