“I never envisaged the day I’d be lining up against Durham. But I’m fully a Warwickshire player now, I love it here, and I can’t wait to face them.”

Those are the words of Chris Rushworth as he prepares to take on his hometown club for the first time since leaving the North East for Edgbaston at the end of 2022.

Rushy achieved cult hero status in his native Sunderland after a 13-year career at Durham during which he became the club’s all-time leading wicket taker.

He topped 600 First Class wickets for Durham and added another 53 red ball scalps in his first season as a Bear.

“Durham was part of my life since I was nine years old,” he said. “I played under-11s, through the age groups, into the Academy and of course played there professionally for 13 years.

“I never imagined I’d be playing against Durham. It’s a strange feeling, I’m not going to lie, but when the fixtures came out at the end of last year it was the first one I looked for. 

“I’m looking forward to it. I know the team well, there are a few guys there I’ve spent a lot of time with over the years, I know their games and potentially any weaknesses, so hopefully that can work in my favour this weekend. 

“And I came through the ranks with Ben Stokes. I spent a summer living with him, which was interesting, and we broke into the first team at around the same time. I’m hoping he doesn’t play this game! But if he does it will be a good challenge and fantastic for our fans to see the England captain at Edgbaston.

“I’m loving my cricket down here. As I said, not something I had ever imagined a few years ago leaving Durham, but Warwickshire is like a new home for me now. I love the place. Love the people. Love playing at Edgbaston. So now I’m fully a Warwickshire player.”

Rushworth, 37, was the sixth top wicket taker in Division One last season with 53, including a best of 7-38 in 13 overs as he dismantled Hampshire on the south coast. He’s now taken an incredible 32 five-fers.

So which former teammates would he most like to add to his wicket tally?

He said: “Scott Borthwick. He’s a good friend, I’ve known him a long time. I’d love to nick him off or blow his stumps out. 

“Bedders (David Bedingham). I get on really well with him and kept in touch over the winter while he was playing for South Africa. I’d love to get him nice and early. And Brydon Carse, he’s an adopted Sunderland fan, we’ve been to games together, I’d like to get him.

“Hopefully the weather will play ball and we’ll put on a great game for our fans.”

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