You're looking in good form Simon…
I've just finished a two-day game with the second team and that went okay so hopefully I should be back in the swing of things sooner rather than later.

You came to Durham at the start of 1991 - but how did you end up at Northants initially?
It was because Durham didn't have a first class county cricket team so if you wanted to play first class cricket you had to go somewhere else. I played club cricket up here and did reasonably well and got picked up by one of the local scouts who asked if I wanted to go for a trial there. Career-wise though things have only taken off since I came back up here.

Would it be fair to say that you could not get back here fast enough?
I was delighted at the idea of playing up here. A new county is very exciting and the fact that it was my home county was even more so - it was perfect timing as far as I was concerned.

What ambitions have you got left in the game?
The main one now is to try and get Durham back in the first division in both competitions and just to contribute as much as I can towards that. It would be nice to help some of the younger lads as well.

Do you look forward to playing with some of these younger players who are coming through - especially after playing in a struggling team for many years?
Some of the younger lads have really progressed. It does take time though - you don't become a good player overnight just as you don't become a bad player overnight. They have come on and developed though and become very good cricketers.

How is the benefit year going?
It is going well. I suppose it is the sort of thing all cricketers look for really - to play in one place long enough to be awarded a benefit. It is quite tough in that there is a lot of running around involved but at the end of the year I am sure it will have been very worthwhile - people have been very generous.

Are there any events you would like to tell us about?
I have a luncheon at the House of Lords on 24 September that I think will be a particularly good occasion and various initiatives between now and then.

What impression have you formed of Martyn Moxon?
I think he has been excellent. He has got on very well with everybody straight away. He is very well organised, he deals with people very well, talks to them very well. It is nice to have him here.

Do you have any regrets about how you performed in your one test match against Pakistan at Lords in 1996?
The biggest regret was the fact that we used different balls in the test match to what we had done all season. We used balls that don't swing very much and that is my main threat - I was blunted a bit by using them which was disappointing. It would have been nice to bowl a little better as I had been bowling better in the county games leading up to the match.

What was your reaction to Paul Collingwood's England call up?
I was over the moon. For the last two or three weeks I have thought that the way he has been playing has made him the type of player they would be looking to include in the squad and I think he thoroughly deserves it. He is a smashing cricketer who thinks about what he is doing as well. I am sure everybody at the club is delighted for him.

Do you think there might be a few more international call-ups from within the Durham ranks in the next few seasons?
Yes I am sure there will be. The academy and second team is very strong. We have some good lads coming through and people like Paul show that it can be done.

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