DateLine: 25th October 2005
James Bryant’s career really was a tale of two countries. A quality player for Eastern Province, capable of big scores (his highest being 234*) who averaged in the late 30’s, his performances for English counties Somerset and Derbyshire fell well short of that. Bryant seemed to suffer from a lack of confidence throughout his stay in England, although there weren’t really any glaring faults in his game which suggested he wouldn’t be able to come to terms with his new surroundings. However, personal problems (almost certainly related to the change of country) did not help in his first season with Somerset, and he broke his hand on his Derbyshire debut. His 2005 season was ended in late June by a dislocated collarbone he suffered while making a wonderful diving match to dismiss Stuart Law in a Twenty20 match at Old Trafford. This came at the worst possible time for him, as for the first time in Derbyshire colours he had finally managed to put a string of good scores together, and his fielding was of an excellent standard. However one half century in twenty-four First-class innings tells it’s own story for any specialist batsman, and he was released in July 2005 as Derbyshire Coach David Houghton decided to send a message out to the other under performing members of the Peakites squad. Bryant’s gamble on a new career in the English backfired. His English exploits have lost him his career in South African First-class cricket, and with his lack of scores in England and the wind blowing against non-English qualified players it would be a surprise if another county took him on, even if Bryant has had more bad luck than most.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)