Gloucestershire sign trio on short-term loans
None of the three have featured in the County Championship yet this season
Gloucestershire have signed dressmakers Brad Wheal and Zak Chappell, along with Warwickshire all-rounder Jacob Bethell, on short-term loan deals to ease an injury crisis ahead of their four-day clash with Somerset.
Wheal, who has agreed to a minimum loan of two weeks, has yet to feature this season in the LV = Insurance County Championship, but played twice in red ball games for second-team Hampshire, winning a five-wicket run against Durham in April.
He who holds a British passport, being born in Durban and having a history with Dale Benkenstein, the head coach of Gloucestershire. It was Benkenstein, while in the same role at Hampshire, who encouraged Wheal to move to England, after spotting him in action for Natal Under-19.
Since then, the 25-year-old has become an international cricketer with Scotland, representing the country at last year’s T20 World Cup. He also impressed during The Hundred, where he performed for London Spirit.
Chappell, acquired on a one-month contract, has also missed out on first-team playing time this season at Nottinghamshire. Like Wheal, who had to wait for his chance behind Mohammad Abbas, Keith Barker and Kyle Abbott, Chappell had to face Dane Paterson, Luke Fletcher, Stuart Broad and James Pattinson.
Wheal starring at the T20 World Cup for Scotland (Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images)
Gloucestershire bowls stocks have been tested in the first five rounds of the summer, having yet to benefit from the calm of a week off; New captain Graeme van Buuren has brought in 10 different tailors so far, ranging from foreign Pakistani players Mohammad Amir and Naseem Shah to winter signing Ajeet Singh Dale and academy graduate Dom Goodman.
However, they were hit with injuries; Naseem hasn’t played since his debut, while Ben Charlesworth – an opening hitter and mid-pace option – is also absent. Amir has a tight hamstring so misses this week’s County Championship clash with Somerset, with Pakistani left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar called up in his place.
Ryan Higgins is the club’s leading wicket-taker with 14 in five games, but Singh Dale is the only other Gloucestershire player to double the numbers. David Payne has only played once after a Covid fight, while former Yorkshire couple Josh Shaw and Jared Warner have both been expensive, with leaks at more than four per plus.
A fortnight ago, Bethell went one hundred for Warwickshire second team against Gloucestershire second string. The 18-year-old is highly regarded and played a key role in the England Under-19s’ run to the World Cup final earlier this year. He was then signed by Welsh Fire for the next edition of The Hundred. His loan deal with Gloucestershire is only for the game against Somerset.
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