BRADLEY DIAL, Lechlade Cricket Club’s new signing from South Africa, admits that all talk of his getting an introduction in Gloucestershire county circles is ‘premature and pure speculation’.
But the 19-year-old batsmen who punched the winning boundary in South Africa’s one-sided victory over Pakistan at the World U19s Cup held in Dubai back in March is hungry to get his first taste of English cricket.
“I’ve got to do the business on the field this summer before there is any thought of moving up a level,” said Dial.
“It’s all down to the runs I get and I am very keen to start and do well for Lechlade.”
Dial’s proposed debut against Tewkesbury last Saturday ended like so many around the Cotswolds – looking out from the pavilion at the persistent rain.
That was the first occasion he had met the whole Lechlade first team squad it has been a whirlwind few days for the Springbok star who only flew into the country the previous Wednesday.
“I had an Italian with some of the boys in Cirencester but at the ground was the first time I had met them all,” he said. “And I was kind of expecting the weather.”
Dial’s arrival at Lechlade to play in the West of England Premier Glos/Wilts Division seems somehow meant to be.
“I was always looking to come to England this summer and I was fixed up with a club in Nottinghamshire before the World Cup but that fell through,” said Dial.
After two Lechlade targets, West Indies Test star Sylvester Joseph and then big-hitting South African Juanre van Wyk, had fallen by the wayside due to visa problems, it was third time lucky with Dial, who has a UK passport thanks to his English dad.
“There were several offers but Lechlade’s looked the best and the most well-organised,” he said, ”and they had the Zimbos connection."
There is a little corner of Zimbabwe in the Cotswolds centred around the coaching and clothing business Gecko Cricket founded by Brad’s new team-mate and former international Ryan Higgins. Gecko also has Zimbabwean Bruce Ballance, older brother of Yorkshire and England Test player Gary, on its books.
“I didn’t know anyone personally over here but I have mutual acquaintances back home with the Zimbos, and I have played against Bruce’s brother before,” said Dial.
Dial’s debut for his new side will now be in the genteel surroundings of Lechlade’s riverside Manor Ground when they entertain Westbury & District on Saturday.
And he is very keen to take his opportunity, just as he did at the World U19 Cup.
“I was left out of the original South African squad and I felt very cross and hard done by,” said Dial.
“I had been on two tours with the U19s and I felt I had done everything I could in the trial games, but for some reason I was dropped,” he said.
“I was only brought back in when Dayyaan Galiem got injured.”
Dial grasped his chance and had the glory of getting his country over the line.
“It was a comfortable victory but because of the stage it was on, it felt a lot closer than it was, which perhaps had something to do with most of the support in the ground being for Pakistan,” he recalled.
There will no hostile atmosphere at the Manor Ground – and this time Dial’s name will be the first on the team-sheet.