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Durham’s Brathwaite is denied the chance to shine
THE prospect of Durham's first championship washout away from home in 20 years of first-class cricket is particularly frustrating for Ruel Brathwaite.
As the 26-year-old paceman awaits the rubber-stamping of his England qualification, the rain in London is bound to prompt the question: "Wouldn't you rather be at home in Barbados."
But Brathwaite now considers England his home, particularly since Durham handed him the chance he craved to be a first-class cricketer.
He was signed after playing in the final match of 2010 and played in six championship games last season, topping the bowling averages with 22 wickets at 24.54.
Although he has been in the squad for the first three matches of this season, he has yet to play, but is set to appear against Surrey at the Oval should the match ever get under way.
The first two days have been washed out and with more rain forecast there is every chance that Durham will see a championship game wiped out for the first time on their travels. It has happened twice at Chester-le-Street - against Hampshire in 1996 and Nottinghamshire in 2008.
Brathwaite said: "I haven't been told I would definitely be playing, but I know that when I get my chance I have to take it.
"I knew when I joined Durham that they had a strong squad of seamers and that they produce bowlers for England.
"But that meant there was a wealth of knowledge I could tap into and it's gone well so far.
"I have done a lot of work with the coaches over the winter on my consistency, trying to eliminate the one bad ball an over."
Despite the weather, Brathwaite feels at home at the Oval because he played for Surrey seconds after coming to England to attend nearby Dulwich College.
Like his fellow Barbadian Chris Jordan, the Surrey all-rounder who has ambitions to play for England, he was initially brought over by Bill Athey, the Middlesbrough-born former Yorkshire and England batsman.
"Bill has been very influential in my career," said Brathwaite.
"He was looking for boys to bring over on cricket scholarships and he gave me an opportunity to study and develop my cricket. There are two Barbadian boys at Dulwich now."
Brathwaite played for Barbados at under 15 and 19 level, but after deciding to pursue his studies in England he gained a B Sc in engineering at Loughborough then a masters in engineering for sustainable development at Cambridge.
His ambition, however, was to be a first-class cricketer. He has played 21 first-class games since making his debut for Loughborough against Essex at Chelmsford in 2006, but with his studies behind him he is hoping he can now make more rapid progress.