When England fielded Simon Brown alongside Alan Mullally in the First Test against Pakistan in 1996, it was the first time since 1912 that England had fielded two left arm pacemen together. Alas, that match turned out to be Browns first and last Test, as he preceded Mike Smith in being a prolific left arm county bowler consigned to Test crickets one cap brigade. Standing 64, he had a smooth, if high kneed run up followed by a surprisingly streamlined action. When he got one to move into Aamer Sohail in just his second over, he made the sort of nerve settling breakthrough which all debutants dream of. However, there were no more scalps after Sohail, as Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar made light work of the terrors of the Lords slope and England lost the match. Brown played for Durham from their formative year as a First-class county, and in five of their first six seasons in the Championship he was their leading wicket-taker. He had joined his native county after failing to regularly make the first team at Northamptonshire. In his later years he closely cropped his formerly longish hair and his moustache became more of a designer stubble beard, which had a dramatic and unexpectedly menacing affect on his appearance, although by now injuries were starting to reduce his menace with a ball in his hand, and by 2001 and 2002 his appearances were being greatly restricted. However, despite many Durham watchers feeling that he had more than one Test wicket in him, he at least had the honour of being the first player to win an English Test cap while playing for Durham, and so he set the foundations for Durham having three players (Harmison, Plunkett and Collingwood) in the Test team against Pakistan in November 2005.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Matthew Reed)