Chris Rushworth: A quick chat can teach you so much as a county cricketer

North East cricket fans will be able to pick the brains of Ryan Sidebottom and Stephen Harmison a week on Saturday. I can't wait to do the same

Steve Harmison in action
Steve Harmison in action

After two really hard-fought draws to start the defence of our County Championship title, Durham have a much-needed chance to recharge our batteries next week.

We get back into it with a visit from Yorkshire, who are already looking like being a strong side again this season.

But another important date for me comes the night before, on May 3.

I’ll be hosting a question-and-answer session at the Emirates ICG with Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Harmison in aid of the PCA Benevolent Fund and Save the Children, the two charities I’m raising money for this year.

It should be a good night and I hope you’re able to come along and support them.

It’s a great opportunity for North East cricket fans to pick the brains of two players who have been top of the bowling rankings for England at one stage or another. I’m looking forward to doing the same. I’ll be particularly interested to hear their thoughts on the whole England situation at the moment.

Learning from experienced players is part of what being a county cricketer is all about.

I was lucky enough to share a dressing room with Harmy for a few seasons, but Sidebottom is the ideal kind of player for me to learn from.

He might be a left-armer but he is my kind of bowler, a swing bowler, so it would be nice to have a chat with him.

It’s always nice to talk cricket with people of that stature. He’s a good guy and a good competitor who’s taken more than 600 First-Class wickets.

You’ve got to try and learn from people like that whenever you can as a professional. It’s important for me because I’m getting to the stage of my career where I’m more experienced and a more senior bowler.

Every bit of knowledge you can get just helps you.

It can be quite daunting for a young player to speak to someone of that stature at first, but once you’re in amongst it in the dressing room atmosphere you relax a little bit more and it comes a bit more freely to ask people for five minutes of their time.

I was very lucky to play for the MCC in Abu Dhabi just over a year ago with the likes of Steve Kirby and Peter Trego, who have played a lot of First-Class cricket. That was a great experience for me, and I’d recommend all young lads try to pick the brains of senior players as much as they can. Players are normally quite happy to help a young bloke develop their career so long as it doesn’t involve giving away any secrets about the team plan.

I’m quite looking forward to playing against Nottinghamshire this year now they’ve signed Peter Siddle. He’s one of the guys this season I’m most looking forward to speaking to.

He’s a world-class bowler and he showed with Australia this winter how good he can be.

Although we haven’t been able to get our first Championship win of the season under our belts, it’s been a positive start for Durham.

Last week was a little bit different for us, it was hard work on a pretty flat pitch at Northampton.

But you know what you’re going to get when you come to the Emirates, where we played this week. The first couple of days are always going to be seamer-friendly.

In the last few sessions it was tough to win the game but everybody was really happy with our performance.

We’re just lacking that killer instinct but I’m sure that will come in time.

We’ve dominated both four-day games so far, so the mood is positive despite not being quite able to force the win on either occasion.

It’s just a case of someone finding that extra-special match-winning performance, but I think that will come.

My own performance was a case in point. I thought I bowled well in Somerset’s first innings, but I was just disappointed I wasn’t able to get a five-fer.

But if you’re taking wickets you’re doing a good job for the team and hopefully someone will get a five-fer or a hundred in the next game to turn good performances into match-winning ones.

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