23 Oct 1978
6ft 4ins (1.93 meters)
Steve Harmison benefitted from Durham's elevation into a first class county by becoming the most successful of their home-grown players and evolving into one of the most feared fast bowlers in world cricket.
He already had a sporting pedigree after being born in the North East mining town of Ashington, the birth-place of the Charlton brothers and Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn, and developed sufficiently to maintain their successful tradition.
Spotted by Durham after he played against their under-17s side for Northumberland as a teenager, he was signed up and made his first class debut towards the end of the 1996 season as a gangly but effective 17-year-old.
Capable of generating great pace, he also had the ability to generate bounce from even the most flat of wickets, which marked him out as a real prospect for the future from an early stage of his county career.
He struggled with homesickness early in his career, but overcame that to claim 226 wickets in 63 Test matches to leave him 10th in England's all-time list of Test wicket-takers.
The best performance of his career was in Jamaica, the spiritual home of fast bowling, when he claimed seven for 12 at Sabina Park in 2004 as West Indies were dismissed for 47 only months after flying home from Bangladesh amid criticism about his commitment.
That stunning display put Harmison on course to claim 67 wickets in 2004, the second most by an England player in a calendar year and only surpassed by close friend Andrew Flintoff the following year.
Perhaps the most valuable wicket of his career, however, was the final wicket of the Edgbaston Test in 2005, when he broke Australia's defiant pursuit of an unlikely victory and sealed a dramatic two runs triumph which set the stage for England's memorably Ashes triumph later that summer.
Persistent shin problems hampered his form for the rest of the following year, but demonstrated his abilities against Pakistan at Old Trafford in July 2006, when he claimed 11 wickets in an innings victory.
More injury concerns in 2007, this time a back problem, restricted his opportunities and although he bowled well in Sri Lanka, he was dropped after the first Test in New Zealand with England deciding to look to the future with James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
His form for Durham the following summer, helping them win their maiden championship title, prompted a recall to England's line-up under new captain Kevin Pietersen against South Africa at the Oval.
Harmison almost enjoyed a dream return but his first ball was dropped in the gully by Alastair Cook, and after a disappointing tour of West Indies he returned to county cricket again to help Durham retain their title.
His success at county level persuaded England to recall him yet again for the climax to the Ashes series and he responded with a spell of three wickets in 13 balls to seal the final Test and secure more celebrations at the Oval.
That spell was not enough to earn Harmison either a central contract or a place in the squad to tour South Africa in the winter of 2009/10, but he refused to announce his international retirement to leave open the possibility of yet another recall in the future.