Durham aim to fill Stokes void

Durham head coach Jon Lewis remains hopeful of securing an overseas recruit in time for the start of the 2014 campaign.

The reigning Division One champions are likely to spend the majority of their title defence without the services of star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is expected to be tied up with England.

In an attempt to fill the sizable void in their starting XI, Lewis admits the North East county have been searching high and low for a replacement, although so far their efforts have proved futile.

Lewis told the Northern Echo: "Signing someone is a bit like wading through treacle and I don't think the rules help.

"It would be nice to give an opportunity to an up-and-coming player, but they have to have played two Tests in the last year or 15 one-day internationals or T20s.

"We looked at New Zealand's Corey Anderson, but he's going to the IPL and we want someone for the full season. It would be nice to have Jacques Kallis, but I don't think that's going to happen.

"To fill Ben Stokes's role would be really difficult, so we are primarily looking for a bowler who is a strong lower order batsman.

"Everyone at the club wants it to happen and we are making progress, so hope it will be sorted in the next couple of weeks."

Lewis revealed that Western Australia's Mitchell Marsh had been a target, but he has not played enough international cricket to meet the regulations.