Gloucestershire pluck Wade out of the Army
Gloucestershire have signed David Wade, an active Lance Corporal with Royal Signal Corps in the British Army, on a two-year contract after he impressed during training and trials.
Wade, 27, was due to return to Afghanistan in January and will remain in the Army but will train with the county during the rest of the winter and be available for the whole of 2011 season having come to an agreement with the Army. Wade, who was part of Hampshire's youth set-up until he was 17, caught the eye of Gloucestershire coaches while playing for Westbury in the West of England Premier League.
"I have been in the Army for six years," Wade said. "I spent seven months in Afghanistan between September 2007 and April 2008 and was due to go back out there in January for a six-month tour of duty. Gloucestershire's offer came out of the blue, but I have always played club cricket at a very competitive level.
"I have been here since the players reported back in November, but everything had to be right with the Army and it took a little time to get everything sorted out. They have been very helpful.
"The soldiers going out to Kabul this time have got a hard job and my troop will be going out in an infantry role. There is a pang of regret about not going with them because I did all the build-up training and I was ready to go.
"But my fellow soldiers are right behind me in the decision I have made and wish me well. It's a last roll of the dice for me as far as playing professional sport is concerned and I will be giving it all I've got."
John Bracewell, Gloucestershire's director of cricket, said: "Like Gemaal Hussain, David is a relative late comer to the professional game and like his predecessor was discovered through our scouting programme. He trialled with us early last year and impressed us with his pace bounce and outswing. With his proven discipline and obvious courage through the army's forces he has shown throughout the winter months a dedication to training and coaching. We are confident that David will be a real contributor to our campaign this season."