T20 Blast – Marcus North hands Ashton Turner poisoned chalice of Durham T20 captaincy

Durham have pulled off the signing of Ashton Turner, Perth Scorchers’ BBL-winning captain, who will lead their T20 side in this year’s Vitality Blast.

Turner, who has won 27 limited-overs caps for Australia, played alongside Durham’s director of cricket, Marcus North, for Western Australia in the early years of his career and will be making his first appearance in county cricket at the age of 29.

He joined forces with Laurie Evans and Colin Munro in a destructive Scorchers middle order in the year’s Big Bash, averaging 32.45 with a strike rate of 153.87 and hitting 54 off 35 balls in the final against Sydney Sixers to take his team to the trophy.

“The Blast is a competition that I’ve watched with a keen interest from afar and I’m really excited to be able to take part in it this summer,” Turner said. “I’m excited to achieve some success with the club and no doubt we will have some fun along the way.”

Durham have struggled in T20 cricket since their last Finals Day appearance in 2016, and have only qualified for the knockout stages once in the past five seasons. The Blast captaincy has been a poisoned chalice: Paul Coughlin, Tom Latham, Stuart Poynter, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Rimmington and Cameron Bancroft have all taken on the role, but five out of those six players left the club after their respective seasons in the role and the other, Poynter, has since been released.

“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Ashton to Durham this summer to lead us out in the Vitality Blast,” North said. “In addition to his powerful batting performances, Ash is a proven leader having captained the Scorchers and Western Australia to multiple championships in recent years and will be a great addition to Durham.”

Turner was overlooked in Monday’s draft for the Hundred after registering his name without a base price, but a strong season would put him in contention to become one of the £50,000 ‘overseas wildcard’ that teams will pick towards the end of the Blast’s group stages.

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