Dustin Melton, Sudbury Cricket Club’s overseas player, is enjoying the challenge of East Anglian Premier League cricket, despite the recurrence of an old injury reducing the pace of his delivery.
The South African fast bowler, 21, who joined the Talbots at the beginning of the season, feels he is ‘5k slower’ than normal, and may be facing surgery during the close season.
The ankle injury proves painful each time he plants his leading foot, but he has no intention of taking time off until after the season is over.
“I will fulfil my contract with Sudbury, and then get treatment in the off season,” he said.
In the first half of the season Melton has taken 13 wickets in all matches at an average of 35.62, and scored 265 runs (club website statistics).
“The injury has not helped my performance,” he added. “I know what I am capable of, and I am aiming to improve. The main thing is that I can continue to play, and I will keep trying to do my best.”
Melton, a member of the Pretoria team, Assupol Tuks, which won the Red Bull University Cricket World Cup earlier this year, has found the conditions in England a little more challenging, with pitches much flatter back in South Africa,
But the standard in the Premier League is “pretty much similar to what I am used to,” he said.
Melton, who has been having trials with first class counties Leicestershire and Hampshire, is setting his sights on a career in county cricket, having come to the UK on a five-year visa.
Fellow South African Neil Dexter, overseas player at Sudbury in 2004, has carved out a career in the County Championship, and is currently at Leicestershire.
But Melton’s focus at the moment is firmly on Sudbury where he is also part of the club’s coaching team, and also takes coaching sessions at a number of schools in the area: “They are certainly keeping me busy,” he said.
He has a Level Two coaching qualification from South Africa, and coached on a regular basis while at Northerns, Pretoria.
He is not looking to return to his home country.
“There are only six professional sides there, and I was keen to move to greener pastures where there are more opportunities.”
He is also enjoying his stay in Sudbury.
“I grew up in a similar sized town, where everyone knew one another and everyone is friendly. It’s a lovely area, and at the club everyone looks after you.”