By Sam Dalling
Durham quick Nathan Rimmington believes another year in the trenches bodes well for his side if and when the Vitality Blast eventually kicks off.
The north-east outfit got off to a strong start to the last campaign, and at the half-way stage were well set to qualify for a first finals day since 2016.
But although the Aussie paceman was among the tournament’s leading wicket-takers his side picked up just one victory in their final six outings.
As a result, Durham failed to qualify for the knockout stages.
They will be aiming to go at least one better this time around, and with exciting talents Brydon Carse and Matty Potts boasting another year of experience under their belts, the Chester-le-Street outfit appear a decent bet for a quarter final berth.
That’s what Rimmington believes anyway, with the attack’s spearhead feeling his young charges will reap the benefits of having fallen at the last more than once.
“We lost a lot of games, but we were in many of those until the end only to fall at the last hurdle,” he explained.
“You can look at it two ways and I prefer to look at the positives.
“We didn’t really get beaten heavily in any games other than one, and we could easily have won several of those with a little more nous.
“You can’t buy experience on the shelves – that old cliché rings true – and I know that these guys will get us over the line if they are in similar situations this year.”
For a second season running, Rimmington will take to the field under the stewardship of fellow countryman Cameron Bancroft.
It is difficult namecheck the Australian test star without that fateful day at Newlands in March 2018 cropping up.
But amidst all the controversy of ‘sandpaper-gate’, it is easy to forget that the right-hander is a fine cricketer in his own rights.
Following a blistering start to the 2019 campaign in Durham colours, Bancroft earned a recall to the Test squad ahead of last summer’s Ashes.
And Rimmington – who has known Bancroft since they shared a changing room at the WACA – believes the whole experience has helped the youngster grow into a more rounded human.
“When he joined he came with baggage, but I think he shocked a few lads with his work ethic – how hard he trained, how he went about his business.
“Nothing’s changed in that respect – he was always a hard worker and the boys really respect him.
“He’s definitely more chilled now though. Everything used to be about cricket for him but now has his yoga and has caught up with the lads a bit more than I’d expected him to.
“There’s definitely been more a change away from the field.”
The so-called white ball specialist is a modern phenomenon.
These days some of the world’s leading stars light up competitions across the globe, earning a fortune for doing so.
It’s fair to say that Rimmington’s reputation is built largely off the back of his impressive short form skills.
In his pomp the seamer rubbed shoulders with the cricketing gods as part of the Kings XI Punjab squad at IPL4, while he featured in the first six editions of Australia’s Big Bash League.
But despite enjoying some success with red ball in hand – a pair of exceptional seasons in Western Australia colours jumping out – Rimmington has never really cemented a spot in First-Class cricket.
And it’s with that in mind that the ex-Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades man admitted he’d have been tempted to go down the franchise only route had it been available back in 2007.
“It was never a conscious decision, but early on in my career I was pigeon-holed as a white ball specialist,” he said.
“The white ball games a lot easier to me with my skiddy action.
“I grew up playing a lot of indoor cricket, and that helped me develop variations and slower balls.
“T20 came at a prefer time really, but I always wanted to play as much cricket as possible and test myself in the first-class game.
“I never really cemented a spot and I’ve had to fight my whole career to play red ball cricket.
“Playing white ball only wasn’t an option when I started, but it would be interesting if I was in the same situation now.”
Now in the twilight of his career, what comes next is very much an unknown.
Coaching is one option – the former Derbyshire and Hampshire man recently completed his Level 3 award – while playing remains on the cards for some time yet, particularly given the lower physical impact that playing T20 cricket only brings.
But what does seem certain is a longer spell in the North East, with Rimmington revealing that he finally feels settled despite the notoriously harsh winters.
“Even though we are thousands of miles away from family, I feel settled here.
“My intention when I finished with WA was to continue to play franchise cricket but that didn’t work out.
“The opportunity at Durham popped up and it was appealing.
“I always thought might use the British passport at some point, and then the opportunity at Durham popped-up.
“My family has come over, we’ve bought a house and everyone has been so welcoming.
“We’ve made some good friends and have survived two winters so far so I think we are here for the foreseeable!”