Chris Rushworth says his success at Durham is a lesson to young sports stars to never give up on their dream.
Released in 2006 by Durham, Sunderland-born Rushworth bounced around the north east leagues before making his return to Chester-le-Street in 2010 and has “not looked backed” since being handed his second chance at a professional career in the game.
The 32-year-old seamer has excelled throughout his career, playing an instrumental role in Durham’s County Championship triumph in 2013, while he was even better in the 2015 season taking 83 wickets on his way to winning the PCA Player of the Year Award.
Whereas other players were lured away by the prospect of a higher standard of cricket following Durham’s relegation to Division Two, Rushworth’s loyalty to his home county was never in question.
It was fitting that he surpassed the 400-wicket mark for the north east outfit with a brilliant spell of 8-51 to turn last week’s clash with Sussex in the favour of his team at Emirates Riverside.
He said of the feat: “It’s huge. Landmarks are always very special.
“I always like doing the landmarks at the Riverside. It always has that extra special feeling with family and friends here and in front of the home crowd as well.
“Every time I pass a milestone it’s always something I never thought I was ever going to achieve. To reach 400 now is what dreams are made of.”
Rushworth’s loyalty has not gone unnoticed by the county after being handed a testimonial year for the 2019 campaign. Following the exodus of experienced players, Rushworth’s commitment to his local team has been more important than ever, although he has insisted that it is he who owes the debt of gratitude.
“I’m very proud,” Rushworth added. “It’s a huge honour and I’m really appreciative. The support that I get from the crowd here is amazing.
“It’s a great moment for me and my family, and one that I can’t thank people here enough for.
“It’s down to everyone involved at Durham for getting me back and giving me a second chance. To pass those milestones and be awarded a testimonial year is something that I never thought would happen.”
Durham’s potent pace attack during the noughties, including Graham Onions and Steve Harmison, squeezed Rushworth out of the pecking order in his first spell.
After being handed a second chance, he has grasped the opportunity, which he feels is a lesson that could give hope to all young cricketers.
At the age of 32, the veteran seamer has not ruled out surpassing Onions as Durham’s all-time leading wicket taker with the record standing at 527 first-class scalps.
He said: “My story is definitely a message that can be passed on. If you have a dream go for it.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked back. If you believe and work hard enough good things can happen.
“Fingers crossed I’ve got a few good years left. I’ve got plenty left in the tank, winning games and taking wickets for Durham, although 500 wickets is a long way off yet.”
Durham face Leicestershire today in their penultimate Specsavers County Championship match of the campaign at Grace Road.