Plunkett back for Durham

Lv County Championship
Darren Stevens

Darren Stevens must prove his fitness for the crucial encounter at Canterbury

Liam Plunkett returns to the Durham squad for their crucial game against Kent, which could see them win the coveted LV County Championship title for the first time in their short first-class history.

The England seamer has been out of favour recently but is named in the 14-man squad for the game. It also includes Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, neither of whom played in the draw against Sussex last week.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored his first hundred for the county in that game and will want to sign off the season in style, while Michael Di Venuto will also be important to the team’s chances at the top of the order.

Steve Harmison will also be keen to perform for Durham before he leaves with England to join the squad for the Stanford games in Antigua.

Justin Kemp and Darren Stevens should be passed fit for Kent, who could be relegated if they lose.

It is a strange atmosphere for Rob Key’s side, who still had a mathematical chance of winning Division One before the whirlwind 70-run defeat to Lancashire.

Kemp, the former South Africa all-rounder, has a long-term back injury and Stevens groin trouble but both are named in a provisional 12-man squad.

Joe Denly was forced to bat down the order in the first innings at Aigburth due to a migraine, but he will open with his captain.

Azhar Mahmood looks set to miss the final match of the season with the knee problem that kept him out of the Lancashire game.

Martin Saggers is named in the squad in Mahmood's place, and could make his first championship appearance since the match with Yorkshire at Scarborough in August if injuries bite.

Aside from their Division One status, Key also has a personal motivation - the Kent skipper is just seven short of 10,000 runs in the championship.

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