What is your first Yorkshire memory?
It would be of Scarborough and I’d be seven or eight, in about 1990. My grandparents would get the bus from Hull to Scarborough every year, stay at the Grand Hotel and go to the cricket festival. My granddad was a big cricket fan. I remember stopping at a shop on the way to the ground and buying a bat and ball and playing on the outfield during the lunch interval. I also remember trying to get players’ autographs.
What is your favourite part of Yorkshire and why?
I live in north Leeds and from there you can go into the countryside, whether it’s towards Otley, Ilkley or Grassington, which is a lovely part of the world. When I have time off from cricket, I like to explore the fantastic areas north of the city. As a kid, we’d go to Hornsea and Bridlington and have a day at the seaside for a bit of fun.
What is your favourite walk or view?
Something we do fairly often is to go up to Bolton Abbey and walk along the river. It takes some beating. The views of the countryside are beautiful. As regards walking, my wife’s family have a cottage in Burniston, north of Scarborough, and we like to walk on the cliffs from there to the North Bay. It’s stunning.
What is your favourite restaurant or pub?
In Leeds there are plenty of good restaurants. I like Tattu, which is a Chinese restaurant in East Parade. Closer to home we like San Carlo Flying Pizza on Street Lane, in Roundhay. It does some excellent food.
What is it about Yorkshire that gives it its unique identity?
We have pride in our roots, where we come from and where we grew up. I think people in Yorkshire are brought up with that attitude. I’ve travelled a lot with cricket and you’ll struggle to find a more friendly person than your typical Yorkshireman, who’d do anything for anyone.
Do you think Yorkshire has changed for better or worse since you’ve known it?
It’s hard to say because I don’t know all four corners of the county, but I’ve lived in Leeds since I was 18 and the city has been transformed in the last 20 years. You just have to look at the city centre. It’s barely recognisable from what it was and you also have to look at the cricket and rugby ground at Headingley. The changes there have been remarkable.
Is there anything about Yorkshire that you would change?
I think if you changed anything, it wouldn’t be the county we know and love.
Which Yorkshire sportsman or woman, past or present, would you like to take out to lunch?
I tell you who I’ve met a few times and someone I’d like to spend some time with and that’s the triathlete Alistair Brownlee. He’s a fantastically successful athlete, having won back to back Olympic gold medals. The commitment and dedication that Alistair shows is amazing and I’d like to know what his training schedule is. It’ll be gruelling. I think it would put into perspective some of the complaints cricketers have about what we have to go through physically.
Which other sports do you follow?
Generally, I like to play sport rather than follow it. I take an interest in football because my wife’s family are huge Leeds United fans, so they were disappointed with the results in last season’s play-offs. I keep an eye on Leeds Rhinos, but I don’t have time to watch sport.
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take out for dinner? I know that the actor Sir Patrick Stewart is from Huddersfield and I’d be keen to spend some time with him. He seems a lovely man, he’ll have some great stories to tell having had his success and I’m sure he’d be good company.
Who is the Yorkshire person you admire the most?
Actually, there are two but unfortunately they aren’t here anymore. My dad, Alan, and my granddad Albert. They probably had the most influence on my life. I don’t think any of the success I’ve had would have happened without them. They supported me through good times and bad and taught me how to be a good person and how to treat people in the right way and that’s what I try to do when I captain the side.
If a stranger came to Yorkshire and you had time to take that person to one place only, where would it be?
I think it would have to be to Grassington. I’d say this village is what Yorkshire’s all about and Grassington is why we love Yorkshire. Just look at the views and I’d tell them this is why we are so lucky to live here.
What is your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend out in Yorkshire?
I’d go over to the coast with my family. We’d stay in the family cottage in Burniston. We’d have a couple of days on the beach with the kids, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air and make sure we had fish and chips and some ice cream. Is there anything nicer than that?
If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be?
This place is just up the street. Eccup Reservoir is not somewhere which many people are familiar with. You don’t drive past it and you don’t see it from the road, but it’s two minutes from us and it’s lovely to go for a walk there. The views are special and it shows how lucky we are to have that countryside on our doorstep.