KEVIN BALL the footballer was all about blood and thunder, pride and passion.
You would image Kevin Ball the cricketer to be equally crash, bang, wallop. Slogging boundaries all over from every delivery.
Instead, he’s a bit of an all-rounder. A bit of Pietersen, a touch of Harmison, the odd piece of Collingwood and a bit of inspiration from Bairstow.
Bat, bowl, field, keep wicket – Ball fancies it all.
But his bigger cricket concern right now is of the future of Durham, his adopted county.
The Sunderland legend is disgusted at the list of sanctions imposed on the club by the ECB as a result of their financial situation. It goes, he believes, beyond reasonable and fair levels of punishment.
“In terms of the sanctions on them I only see the flat part of it but I can't understand why you would chose to do that to such a successful county and expect them then to get better,’’ he mused. “If there's a sanction to be put in place it's got to be quantifiable and fair and you look at that and say how is it?
“There may be issues surrounding Durham but the idea should be that you want them to carry on and get stronger not start so far on the back foot it's going to be really difficult for them, because there's no benefit to them.’’
Ball was at Philadelphia Cricket Club this week, only too happy to lend his support to the on-line campaign for redemption started by Durham stalwart Tom Moffatt, as he launched the website and social media campaign.
He added: “What needs to come out of this campaign is our area supporting Durham County Cricket Club and we're all disappointed in these sanctions because they massively affect them adversely. It's about all of us saying, 'We're behind you?'
“I think the North East mentality is to roll their sleeves up and say 'We'll show you.'
“If there's anything to come out of this idea it's looking at an 87-year-old like Tom (Moffat) who's had so much history with Durham and he's still as passionate about it now. This is everybody's way of saying, 'We're not going down without a fight.' I think everyone in the North East should get behind this campaign and back one of our own.
“When there's a time of need in North East sport they come together and they do it well.’’
And Ball, a resident of Chester-le-Street, will get a chance to show his cricket frustrations at the Riverside in August.
The Magpies will be managed by Kevin Keegan, the Black Cats by Peter Reid.
"The fact that Reidy's agreed to play will bring back memories from when I played at the Riverside in the mid-1990s to mark the opening of the ground,’’ recalled Ball.
"The fact that Colly wants to get involved is great. I love my cricket and I'm such a saddo I don't mind keeping wicket but I enjoy fielding too, I'm happy to bowl and I love giving it a whack with the bat so if they want me to play I'll be right up for it.
"The overriding thing is people are getting behind Durham, and that's really important."
Ball’s role at Sunderland encompasses the Academy and player development.
With such a strong production line on his doorstep, he’s dipped into the Riverside to see how they produce so many cricketers at both first-class and international level.
“As a coach myself I'm really interested in the players they've produced and I've been in to see their academy manager (John Windows) to what they do and the pathways to how they do it. I'm interested in what they do,’’ he admitted.
“If you look at the way young players have progressed through at Durham, it's brilliant. They integrate, they give them a chance. We spoke about a lot of other things.
“Maybe because of these sanctions a few of these players have left. I don't know but it may have been, and that's not great for Durham. How are they going to progress?’’
He added: “It was their player pathways that impressed me most, how they integrate their players. I started reading in a magazine how they like their young players to play in the North East Premier League because they want their cricket to be real.
“Part of my role at Sunderland is to look after our young players when they go out on loan to expose them to what I'd class as real life games. I think it's brilliant what they've done and I've spoken to our people at work about it.
“Then they were talking about how they integrate players and make them feel better. They give them integrated pathways.
“Every club needs its pathway – us, Durham, whoever.
“I was just impressed with their enthusiasm and how they integrate them into the first team. It's something I've wanted to do for a while. When it happened I saw a fantastic facility, a fantastic club and I'm thinking, 'How are the sanctions going to benefit this?' It's not like one sanction which cover the lot, there's a whole range of things they're doing to them.’’
The campaign website against the ECB sanctions is justnotcricket.org or on twitter @SaveDurhamCCC