- Brydon Carse is a step closer to joining the Greig brothers, from nearby Queenstown, as an England cricketer from the E Cape.
- He is the son of lively Eastern Province Currie Cup paceman of the 1980s James Carse.
- SA narrowly leads India as main overseas-born source of England internationals.
Whether South African-born Brydon Carse cracks the international nod remains to be seen: he is currently part of an unusually extended, 55-strong broad England cricket training group named a few days ago.
But it still seemed a positive step closer toward top-level recognition, as that country’s national selectors and coaches ramp up preparations – both for intended Test and white-ball action — for a delayed start to the UK season in early July when West Indies are scheduled as first visitors for Test combat.
The 24-year-old Durham paceman and useful lower-order batsman has already represented England Lions (their equivalent of the SA ‘A’ side) so he has been knocking at the door.
Should Carse, who has a UK passport and completed residential qualifications last year, earn senior selection either in this shortened English season or not too long beyond it, he would simultaneously become the first Port Elizabeth-born player to represent England at the highest level – and 19th overall from South Africa.
The ball was set rolling back in 1966 when legendary Capetonian-born figure Basil D’Oliveira of Worcestershire made his Test debut against West Indies at Lord’s; he would go on to earn 44 caps and average above 40 with the bat.
Two other England cricketers are Cape Town-born – Jonathan Trott and Tom Curran – although Johannesburg has seen six cricketers go on to represent the old foe in the northern hemisphere: Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior, Craig Kieswetter, Jade Dernbach, Michael Lumb and Keaton Jennings.
There are five from Durban: brothers Chris and Robin Smith, Stuart Meaker, Nick Compton and Jason Roy.
Kevin Pietersen was born in Maritzburg and Allan Lamb in Langebaanweg (up the Cape’s West Coast), while the closest to Port Elizabeth were another pair of brothers, Tony and Ian Greig, from Queenstown, just over 300km away in the very same Eastern Cape.
England caps have also gone the way of other notable southern Africans: Graeme Hick, Paul Parker and Gary Ballance (all Zimbabwe-born) and Phil Edmonds and Neal Radford (Zambia).
South Africa narrowly leads the way, with those 18 players previously mentioned, as the foreign country to produce the most England representatives, although India is very hot on SA’s heels with 17 born there.
The most recent was Mumbai-born Min Patel, who played two Tests for the English in 1996, although two extremely well-known Test-capped figures to South Africans, Robin Jackman and Bob Woolmer, were also born there.
Jackman is an ex-WP coach and popular former SuperSport television commentator still resident in Cape Town, while the late Woolmer was head coach of the South African national side in the era of Hansie Cronje’s leadership.
Many followers of the former Currie Cup cricket competition in the 1980s will remember Carse’s father, James, as a nippy strike bowler for Eastern Province (137 career first-class wickets at average 32).
Although he hails from then-Rhodesia, the now 61-year-old campaigned in the St George’s Park fold in the 1980s, when other seamers in the EP ranks included Kenny Watson, Mike “Fires” van Vuuren, Dave Brickett and Dickie Ogilvie.
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