Burke keen to play for Devon on way back from illness

James Burke - playing again after a brush with illness
James Burke - playing again after a brush with illness

JAMES Burke is hoping a run of games for Devon will get him back to full fitness and into Surrey’s plans again.

All-rounder Burke, in the third and final year of his current contract with Surrey, made a Devon comeback in the game against Oxfordshire at Banbury.

James Burke - on the comeback trail with DevonThe 26-year old made 25 before being caught at slip in Devon’s first innings.

Burke was sent out on loan by Surrey to Leicestershire at the start of the season to get some First Class cricket under his belt as opportunities were thin on the ground at the Oval.

A mystery virus prevented Burke playing more than one friendly game for Leicestershire – so much for gaining more experience.

As his recovery dragged on and on, Burke decided it was best to return to Surrey and get help from the club’s medical team. Playing for Devon is part of his rehabilitation.

“ I need to be playing cricket and getting back into Surrey’s plans,” said Burke.

“My contract is up at the end of this season and I am well aware I need to give Surrey some performances if I am going to get another one.

“My illness was really debilitating. There were times when I could barely move and wondered if I would ever play cricket again?

“I am still not fit enough to bowl properly – I had a go in the nets to see – but I can bat.

“As I can’t bowl Surrey said I would be better off playing for Devon this week.

“My aim is to get some games under my belt with Devon, hopefully start bowling again soon and get myself noticed by Surrey.

“Apart from a few games for Guildford in the Surrey Championship, I have hardly picked a bat up all season so time in the middle is important.”

Burke still isn’t entirely sure what his illness was, but said it he was laid low for weeks by it.

“I have had glandular fever in the past and the aches, pains and tiredness was similar in many ways to that,” said Burke.

“I had a lot of tests which established it wasn’t glandular fever, but something similar and quite nasty.

“I side effect was reactive arthritis, which affects the joints.

“The fear was I had rheumatoid arthritis, which would have been career ending. Luckily it wasn’t that.

“My recovery was taking so long there was no point staying in Leicestershire so I headed back to London to take advantage of the medical team at Surrey.”