Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Graduation Looming If South African Maintains His Rate of Improvement; Brydon Carse's Hard Work Has Paid off This Winter and Now He Could Have the Chance to Play Alongside Ben Stokes, Writes Stuart Rayner

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Graduation Looming If South African Maintains His Rate of Improvement; Brydon Carse's Hard Work Has Paid off This Winter and Now He Could Have the Chance to Play Alongside Ben Stokes, Writes Stuart Rayner

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

NOT for the first time recently, Brydon Carse might have reason to curse Ben Stokes. But if his winter has taught the 20-year-old fast bowler anything, it is that patience is a virtue.

There are pretty much only two types of accent in the Durham dressing room and Carse's is from Port Elizabeth, not the North East.

Carse is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Keaton Jennings, who last month acquired a British passport. For now, though, he is still South African, the nationality Stokes scored cricket's fastest Test match double-hundred against this winter.

Tomorrow the England all-rounder plays his first match since, when Middlesex are visitors to Chester-le-Street in the County Championship, and Carse or Usman Arshad will make way. But even if it is the former, Stokes will be back wearing the Three Lions soon and Carse will be able to continue the progress which has seen him go from badly injured second-teamer to First-Class cricketer in 10 months.

"It's been a lot of hard work during the winter but I've done everything correctly to get to where I am now," he says. "The most important thing now is to keep that up throughout the season. I've got my feet firmly on the ground and there's still a lot of hard work to do."

For Carse, who made his First-Class debut against Durham University earlier this month and his Championship bow at home to Somerset the following week, playing alongside Stokes will be another thrill.

"If I get the chance it will be a good opportunity," he says, using his favourite word. "You can feed a lot off him on and off the field. I'm just waiting for that opportunity to come.

"There's a wealth of experience to feed off at Durham."

Carse's 2015 also started promisingly, only for a build-up of fluid in his foot to set him back.

"I played the first four games in last season's Second XI Championship then I was unfortunate to get injured against Worcestershire after I'd taken a six-fer," he says. "That was a major setback but I think I've come a long way since then.

"I had a bone edema in my left foot so I had to be put into a boot for six weeks and it took three months to get back onto the field."

In his absence the likes of Barry McCarthy and James Weighell were handed first-team debuts as injuries took their toll on the seniors. But for injury, it could have been him.

"I know, I know," he says. "But the players who got their chance at the end of last season deserved it through hard work and taking wickets in the second team. Unfortunately it wasn't my time but hopefully I can push on now."

That process started in the gym. "Really his body wasn't ready for professional bowling last year but he's worked really hard during the winter," coach Jon Lewis explains. "He's got a long way to go but he's come a long way since September and that's down to the work he's done and the work our strength and conditioning coach Joel (Brannigan) has dome with him. …

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