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Chanderpaul to return to Durham

Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Chanderpaul featured in the Stanford Superstars team earlier this month

Durham have agreed a deal for West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul to return to the Riverside next season.

The ICC Cricketer of the Year has had two previous stints as Durham's overseas player and has committed to a third spell in 2009.

The dates of his availability will be decided at a later date, to fit in with his international commitments.

Title-winning captain Dale Benkenstein and Australian opener Michael Di Venuto have also signed deals until 2011.

Leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, who made his Twenty20 debut this season, has been offered his first professional contract which will see him play at Chester-le-Street until the end of 2010.

Gary Scott has been released and will leave the club along with Garry Park who agreed a two-year deal with Derbyshire last month.

Chief executive David Harker said: "The players have worked incredibly hard to get the squad to where they are today and are understandably keen to ensure that Durham's future on the pitch continues to be a bright one.

"With both the first and second team bringing championship trophies back to Riverside, we now have to build on and maintain the core of the successful team, continuing to nurture the young talent we have brought through our academy."

Coach Geoff Cook admitted he was delighted to have secured the majority of the squad that won the county championship this season.

And given the performances of the local talent such as Phil Mustard, Graeme Onions and Mark Davies within the squad, Cook is keen to promote more of the club's academy players rather than look abroad.

"The likes of Michael DiVenuto and Dale Benkenstein aren't going to be here forever," he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"The stronger the base of your English talent, then the easier it is to be competitive year in year out.

"It's becoming more and more important that you get these guys signed up and making sure their commitment is with the club."

Durham collected their ECB Lord's Taverners Trophy from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

And for head coach Geoff Cook it was a fitting culmination of a season's work.

"It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It was nice for so many people at the club to be represented as well, from the squad, to the backroom staff to people working in the admin departments," he said.

"The Duke of Edinburgh reminded us he had been to the Riverside before because he was with the Queen when she opened it.

Geoff Cook
Cook received the championship trophy from HRH Duke of Edinburgh

"He asked if there were any of us still at the club who had been there then and of course me and our scorer Brian Hunt were there so he had a chat with Brian.

"I think for both me and Brian these have been a couple of emotional months.

"I am just getting my head around what we have achieved. It's more remarkable when you think two counties have not won the championship and we have done it in 16 years."

Sunderland-born wicket-keeper Phil Mustard was also on the trip to the Palace and the 26-year-old admitted it was the first time he had mixed in such prestigious company.

He said: "When I was younger I never thought I would go to Buckingham Palace. Years down the line I will now be able to tell family members I was there and met The Duke of Edinburgh.

"I was sitting on a chair at one point which dated back to the 18th Century. I was scared to touch anything in case I broke it."

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see also
Chanderpaul scoops top ICC award
10 Sep 08 |  Cricket

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