It's hard to know where to begin as Durham look stronger than a particularly pungent slice of Mont d'or cheese. The batting features the ever-dependable Dale Benkenstein as well as Michael Di Venuto and Paul Collingwood. Then there is young tyro Ben Stokes, all-round(er) Ian Blackwell and skipper Phil Mustard adding ballast and fluency to the late middle-order. If that wasn't enough then a blend of pace in the form of Steve Harmison, Graham Onions and Liam Plunkett, and spin in the shape of Blackwell and Scott Borthwick augers well for yet another concerted tilt at the title.
These are harder to find although Harmison is past his best and increasingly troubled by injuries, which have also curtailed Onions' England career over the last two years. This means that the seam bowling is not as strong as it was in the triumphant 2008 and 2009 sides.
That has to be Dale Benkenstein - the heartbeat of the side and as reliable as Santa in that he always delivers.
Look out for
Stokes is returning from an operation on his finger, but if he can hit the ground running with bat and ball as he did in 2011, a regular spot in England's limited overs sides seems his for the taking.
Champions - predicting the outcome of Division 1 is as difficult as choosing the winning lottery numbers, but Durham look the best balanced side. Given we've gone for them, they'll probably be relegated now.
2011 County Cricket Review: including Heroes of the Season, Best and Worst XIs, and a whole host of other nonsense
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