As one of five South Africans in this week’s Surrey-Durham match, Brydon Carse did not feel out of place.
But he stresses that his seven Durham-born team-mates have all made him feel at home.
“They are a really good bunch of lads to get on with,” he said. “It’s good to have Keaton Jennings and Michael Richardson in the team, but I get on with all of them.
“Jack Burnham and I have become very close over the last couple of years and I enjoyed a quiet drink with him after his century at the Oval.”
Tom Curran and Surrey debutant Mat Pillans completed the South African contingent and there might have been more had the younger Curran, Sam, not been doing his A-levels.
Carse echoed the views of Jennings when he said: “There are more opportunities for us in England. I’ve always wanted to play here and it helps that my dad has a British passport, which entitles me to an ancestral visa.
“I still have to spend 230 days a year here to qualify for England, so I go back to South Africa for Christmas and play club cricket for a couple of months. I never thought that I wouldn’t make it in South Africa, but I’ve wanted to play in England from a young age.”
The 20-year-old paceman, who had a summer with Burnmoor in the Durham Cricket Leaguein 2014, impressed in Durham’s second team last year, taking 6-42 against Worcestershire at Darlington in June, only to suffer a foot injury and miss the rest of the season.
Durham’s director of cricket, Geoff Cook, had captained Brydon’s father, James, at Northamptonshire in the 1980s and remembered that he was fast. So ,when he received a call from Carse senior recommending his son, he was keen to take a look.
“I’ve never been tested on a speed gun, so I don’t know exactly how fast I bowl,” said Brydon. “But bowling as fast as I can is certainly the aim and hopefully I’ll develop more consistency with experience. Durham want to use me in short, quick spells.
“It was a special moment when I got Kumar Sangakkara out, but, as well as joy, I felt relief. There aren’t many better players in the world.”
Carse was the fastest bowler in the match when he made his Specsavers County Championship debut in Durham’s opener against Somerset. He then made an impact against Middlesex by clean bowling Sam Robson and was awarded a development contract prior to taking four wickets in the Oval draw.
Although Paul Coughlin, Jamie Harrison and Usman Arshad are staking claims, with Ben Stokes no longer being available, Carse seems certain keep his place when Durham resume at home to Lancashire tomorrow week.