England, Durham, Marylebone Cricket Club
If there ever was to be a movie made on a county cricketer, then Chris Rushworth's story would be a money spinner. The Sunderland-born man has seen it all - being left out from Durham's academy to being named their player of the year and in between all that his struggle to make a living out of other jobs. Rushworth came through Durham's youth ranks and played a 50-over game in 2004 for the county side against the touring Sri Lankan A team. However, in 2006, the then 20-year-old was released by Durham. Rushworth tried his hand at various things like working at call centers, selling satellite dishes and giving trials at other county clubs - Northamptonshire and Sussex. Nothing came through though but his belief to play first class cricket one day. The right-arm pacer is not known for his speed. It is his accuracy and bustling nature that makes him standout. He has a penchant to perform on surfaces that are responsive and there are a whole lot of them in the north-east. The never-say-die attitude kept him at club level for Sunderland and soon he would be roped in by the county side that let go of him - Durham. Rushworth made his championship debut against Yorkshire in 2010, but the season that followed limited his playing time. He was a regular member of the T20 side and only when Paul Collingwood took over the captaincy reins from Rushworth's cousin, Phil Mustard, that the medium pacer got his opportunity in the longer format. The seasons that followed saw Rushworth grow from an amateur bowler to a real strike force for Durham. He started by picking 38 wickets at 16.39 in 2012, a tally that helped his side survive relegation and still stay in the championship. Rushworth formed a potent partnership with Graham Onions and though the latter finished the 2013 season as the leading wicket-taker, Rushworth was not far behind - he was fourth in the list with 54 scalps at 22.25. This was also the season that Durham won their third Championship title in five years and the two fast bowlers had a big role to play. His career graph was already on the upward spiral and each season got better than the previous one. In 2014, he was the go-to bowler for Durham with Onions not available and boy did he respond to the responsibility, ending the season with 64 wickets and as the third highest wicket-taker. The achievement not only bring him accolades but also won him PCA Player of the Year. It felt like life had come a full circle for Rushworth who had been let go eight years back by Durham. Rushworth was still to hit his peak and the next season is where he reached new heights. He broke Durham's record for most wickets by a bowler in a season, going past Ottis Gibson's 80-wicket tally in 2007 and finishing with 83 wickets at 20.61 - highest wicket-taker for the season. Rushworth also became only the second bowler after Steve Harmison to record a hat-trick in a Championship game, he achieved the feat when his hat-trick was divided between two innings against Hampshire. There was a slight dip in form in 2016 and next season when Durham were relegated to division two, Rushworth still remained their ace bowler - scalping 47 wickets at 25.89. In fact, his responsibility grew more with the departure of his mate Onions to Lancashire. One regret that Rushworth might have is his time to represent the three lions never came, especially during 2012-2016 where he picked up 271 championship wickets and was one of the leading bowlers in the county circuit.