A middle-order batsman and left-arm seam bowler, he toured Australia and the West Indies with Young England before forging a successful career with Hampshire. He also played some first-class cricket for Wellington in New Zealand. James is perhaps best known for a game against the Indians in 1996 when he took a record equaling four wickets in four balls, and followed it up with a hundred later in the match. These Indian wickets included Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. The Cricinfo report from the match claimed that no-one, in the history of cricket, had taken four wickets in four balls and scored a hundred in the same game.