Cricket may not be his game, but one of the planet's most successful singers is heading to the home of the sport in the region for what he promises will be a spectacular summer concert. Andrew White speaks to Sir Rod Stewart 

ASK Rod Stewart what he knows about cricket and he's on a sticky wicket.

You see Rod doesn't do cricket. "I'm a one-sport man," he tells me. "There's football and that's it."

One of the best-selling artists in music history, Rod – more correctly Sir Rod following his knighthood last year for services to music and charity – is speaking to me from his home in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

The subject of 'the gentleman's game' arises because the raspy-voiced rocker is heading to the Emirates Riverside, home of Durham County Cricket Club, next month (Friday, June 9) to perform his arena show 'From Gasoline Alley to Another Country'.

Given his self-confessed obsession with football, you may be forgiven for thinking he would be more at home in the venue for the only other UK mainland concert he will be performing this year – Greenhous Meadow, the home of Shrewsbury Town Football Club.

But not a bit of it.

"I'm very much looking forward to it," he says. "Durham is a place I've never played before as far as I know, so it'll be entirely new for me."

Rod says the Durham show will be a mixture of old and new songs and uses words like "exciting", "wonderful", and – of course – "sexy" to describe what people can expect.

He will be drawing on five decades of experience in the music business, which has seen him sell more than 200 million records worldwide and spawned massive hits like Maggie May, Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, Baby Janes and The First Cut is the Deepest – as well as more recent success with his acclaimed series of American standards.

And he is keen not to disappoint his adoring fans.

"I'm sure there'll be people there who have seen the show before," he says. "Mostly people want to hear the songs that have made me famous over the last 35 to 40 years. It's a very very happy show."

He may never played in Durham before, but Rod is a veteran of concerts in the region, going back to his association with legendary Blues singer Long John Baldry in the 1960s.

And he is proud of himself when he remembers one date from his early years.

"Is Redcar in your patch?" he asks. "I played in the late 60s at the Redcar jazz festival, it was with Long John.

"I do recall it was a baking hot day – and I hope it'll be the same at Durham.

"But you can't compare the business that I'm in today to what it was," he says. "Every part of the business – the recording, the travelling – it's all different. In those days you would play for maybe 25 minutes, now you've got to play for two hours, people demand it."

After so long at the top, Rod shows no signs of slowing down. Now 72, he still travels all over the world and has a summer residence at Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas, to look forward to for the second successive year.

"Hopefully I'm doing something right," he says. "I really do enjoy it and I'm hoping to keep on doing it and doing it for as long as I can. Some guys really don't like touring, but I love it. The only downside is being away from one's family.

"I hate to ever call call it a job, but I suppose it is a job and it's a very privileged job."

As the interview winds down, the subject – almost inevitably – returns to Rod's other great love.

"There's not a day in my life when I haven't talked or watched or read about football," he says. "It's a huge thing in my life."

Rod keeps a keen eye on his beloved Glasgow Celtic – still regularly attending matches – he knows that County Durham is traditional Sunderland supporting territory, admires star striker Jermain Defoe and has heard of his and the club's efforts to support cancer sufferer Bradley Lowery.

He is well aware of club's present plight, relegation to the Championship and the struggles facing manager David Moyes.

"I feel sorry for Moyes," he says. "I've met him a couple of times, he's a hell of a guy.

"But the North-East has great football supporters - like Glasgow. They understand the nuances of the game and I have a lot of respect for them.

"And as I say in my book [his autobiography, titled Rod], there's two things you can't change – your mother and the football team you support. For Sunderland, there'll be better days."

It's a typically optimistic outlook for a man whose enthusiasm is undimmed and he signs off our conversation with a cheery goodbye and a word of advice for a hardworking journalist: "You go down the pub – and I'll jump in the pool."

Tickets to see Rod Stewart at Durham County Cricket Club on Friday, June 9 are on sale now from