FORMER Zimbabwe Under-19 cricket team player Ryan Burl, widely regarded as one the country’s most promising young prospects has set his sights on a successful cricket career after recently quitting university in the United Kingdom to pursue his dream.
The 20-year-old spinning all-rounder recently returned home from the UK where he was playing club cricket while studying at Southampton Solent University.
In an interview with our sister paper NewsDay Sport yesterday, Burl, who represented the country at two Under-19 Cricket World Cups, said opting for cricket over university was an obvious choice for him as he had always wanted to be a cricketer.
“The reason I went over to England was to play some cricket overseas and gain some useful experience and to take a short break from Zimbabwe as I had just finished school,” he said.
“While playing cricket there I got offered a scholarship at university, so I thought great, this is a good opportunity to gain a degree and get some papers. However, I have always wanted to play cricket as a career, and being at university I wasn’t able to do both. So I decided to come here and pursue my dream.”
Prior to his departure for the UK, Burl — a hard-hitting left-handed batsman and a useful leg spinner — was a key figure of the national Under-19 team.
The former Peterhouse College student played at two Under-19 Cricket World Cups in Australia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) before leaving for the UK.
One of the major highlights of his Under-19 career was scoring three consecutive half centuries against Australia Under-19, the first two (79 not-out and 74) during a tri-series in India and 60 in the UAE.
“Scoring runs is always nice. But scoring runs consistently is really special — so obviously it was a good feeling especially when one of them really mattered in a win over Australia,” he said.
Burl, who credits his grandfather Basil Petersen for early influence on him when he was learning the sport, has represented Zimbabwe in all age group teams from the Under-14s up.